Institute of Archaeology


Ole F. Nordland

Ole F. Nordland

Iron making in Viking Age Scandinavia (c. AD 750 - 1000): Political power, knowledge transmission and technological changes

Ole Nordland Profile

Email: ole.nordland.14@ucl.ac.uk
Section: Archaeological Sciences



Iron making in Viking Age Scandinavia (c. AD 750 - 1000): Political power, knowledge transmission and technological changes

My project investigates the relationship between the transmission of technological traditions and political power in Viking Age Scandinavia through the lens of ironmaking.

Throughout the ninth century, a political change in Norway is mirrored in a change in iron production technologies. Two politically strong regions with distinct ironmaking traditions adopted the same type of ironmaking at the same time as political unification occurred.

In order to understand where this change came from, and how and why a new method could spread and effectively replace the pre-existing methods, I compare remains of different ironmaking traditions in order to assess similarities and differences.

By utilising the full breadth of archaeological sciences available at the Wolfson Archaeological Science Laboratories, paired with conventional archaeology and historical sources, I hope to be able to identify whether or not the new method of ironmaking is a result of evolution of one of the pre-existing methods, or introduced externally.

I aim to identify the different production methods for iron and to connect changes seen here to socio-economic changes that occurred at the same time. In a broader picture, my project tries to explain reasons for technological changes in ironmaking as well as identifying their geographic origins by looking at production remains.




    • BA, History and Archaeology, NTNU 2008
    • MA, History, NTNU 2011
    • MSc, Technology and Analysis of Archaeological Materials, UCL 2015
    Conference papers

    Eggert, M. K. H., Seidenstricker, D., Gassman, G., Nordland, O. F. 2016 Iron ore reduction in the Congo Basin: Some Perspectives based on Archaeological Evidence from the 1980s. Society of Africanist Archaeologists (SAfA) Toulouse, France 26.06 - 02.07 2016

    Nordland, O. F., Martinón-Torres, M., Charlton, M., Birch, T., Sigurðsson, G. S., Zoega, G. 2017. Technological Aspects of Iron Production at Skógar, Iceland AD 940-1305. United Kingdom Archaeological Science Conference (UKAS) London, United Kingdom 05.04 - 08.04 2017

    Nordland, O. F., Martinón-Torres, M. 2018. Viking Age Ironmaking in Trondheim, Norway: Between two methods? 42nd International Symposium on Archaeometry (ISA) 2018 Mérida, Mexico 20.05-26.05 2018