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The Varangian Network

A network for archaeological and historical research into relations between the Baltic and the Black Sea area from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages


The aim of this network is to establish an inter-disciplinary forum for archaeology, history and related research into the cross cultural relations between the Baltic Sea area and the Black Sea region from Late Antiquity through the Viking Age into the Middle Ages. The objective of the network is:
•    to unite and develop expertise in the study of this historical field
•    to create attention of the often overseen eastern dimension in the picture of our history in Scandinavia and Western Europe
•    to strengthen the international partnership within communities of science in East- and Central Europe
•    to create a starting point for larger research projects within the area
The significance of long distance relations between Scandinavia, the Slavic countries and the Black Sea region in the Middle Ages is generally acknowledged. From the lively exchange, attested by archaeological sources between South Scandinavia and the Goths in the Pontic area, to the famous “Varangian Guard” consisting of Scandinavians at the Imperial court in Byzantium in Late Viking Age cross cultural interaction was a driving force for important historical developments.
Mainly because of language barriers and research traditions the history and archaeology centred on these connections have remained weakly exposed in Scandinavian research to this day. Scandinavian archaeologists and historians have rarely maintained regular contacts with colleagues in the Slavic world and in the other parts of Eastern Europe. As a consequence of this the research milieus have remained underdeveloped, and fragmented into many areas of expertise and national traditions. Especially in Denmark the Slavic world is a blind spot in research. We are interested in establishing an inter-disciplinary work committee, which can look into the many questions, which are related to this period.

The network is a result of the collaboration between the Danish National research Foundation’s Centre for Black Sea Studies, the Department of History, Culture and Social sciences at the University of Southern Denmark and the Department of Medieval Archaeology at the University of Aarhus.

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