The northern Scandinavian viking hall: A case study from Viklem in Ørland, Norway
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Our aim with this paper was to discuss two possible Viking Age and Early medieval wooden hall buildings from Viklem at Ørlandet in relation to the Scandinavian Viking Age halls. To do this we analysed the buildings from Viklem to see to what extent they meet well-established criteria for Viking Age halls in Scandinavia. Since the Viklem halls are the northernmost known examples of such freestanding hall buildings, we have to take local and regional conditions into consideration, such as fundamental geographical factors, political demands and its physical manifestations at Ørlandet and the surrounding areas. Our results showed that the large buildings at Viklem meet many of the criteria that have been established by research in southern Scandinavia. However, we see that the Viklem halls are smaller, and lack the large number of prosperity items that that are associated with most in most of the known halls in the south. We discuss these differences in the perspective of Viklem’s location, close to the sailing route that connected it to the international Viking world. In conclusion, we argue that the large buildings at Viklem must be seen as halls, in view of their size, building technique, location and other factors that distinguish them from contemporary buildings in the same area. Since they also stand out as being markedly different from the southern Scandinavian material, we conclude that the Viklem halls should be interpreted as the first known examples of a northern type of Scandinavian Viking Age hall.