Vikings – An Archaeodeath Review of Death in Season 1

Archaeodeath

Screenshot_2015-02-08-23-25-12 Cremation at Kattegate, season 1, episode 9 of ‘Vikings’

In a previous blog I discussed the television series Vikings seasons 1 and 2. Here I focus on death, burial and commemoration in Season 1.

There is a lot of death in this first series as you might expect, mostly killings: battles on different scales between and within different groups of Vikings and involving Vikings and others, mainly Anglo-Saxons but also with an unnamed Baltic tribe (at the opening of episode 1). There are also individual murders, executions and examples of gruesome one-sided slaughters of unarmed men, women and children (and monks). Disease makes an appearance but old-age and accidents make no intervention in the narrative.

Some of these deaths lead to funerals in different locales, on varying scales and in contrasting character. It is interesting to me as an archaeologist how the disposal of the dead is portrayed in this popular series – both funerals and instances…

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