The Viking age glass beads of Ireland and their North Atlantic context

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O'Sullivan, Johanna E. M.
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University College Cork
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Hitherto, the majority of studies which have included the discussion of Viking glass beads have mainly focused on the assemblages from individual sites, with limited use of known parallels. Exceptions to this include recent publications regarding the Icelandic material and Callmer’s 1977 catalogue of the finds from mainland Scandinavia, now over thirty years old. Analysis of these finds from Ireland was, for the most part, non-existent. The aim of this research is to address this lack of analysis within Ireland, while incorporating the wider context of the beads within the Viking North Atlantic. The research thus examines the use of glass beads of diagnostically Scandinavian manufacture and import found in Ireland, particularly in relation to their context and distribution. The history of research from Ireland as well as from across the Viking world is considered and explored throughout the thesis, with critique of methods and discussions used. Focussed analysis of both published and unpublished material detailing artefacts from Scandinavia (especially Vestfold), Britain, Iceland, the Faroe Islands and L’Anse aux Meadows is presented within the thesis in order to provide the greater picture for the core section of the thesis, the glass beads found in Ireland. Three appendices are included within Volume 2, databases of the glass beads under discussion from Ireland, the Vestfold region graves in Norway and the topsoil finds from the Kaupang trading place, also located within Vestfold. These appendices therefore represent the first-hand analysis of glass beads by the author. In total, this research represents the most up-to-date analysis of Viking glass beads from Ireland and presents a new look at the patterns of use, trade and interpersonal contact that affected the everyday lives of individuals living within Viking Age Ireland.
Archaeology , Viking Studies , Identity , Scandinavia , North Atlantic , Viking Ireland , Viking Britain , Kaupang , Vestfold , Personhood , Artefact studies , Viking trade
O'Sullivan, J. E. M. 2013. Viking age glass beads of Ireland and their North Atlantic context. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.