Posted by: Marte Spangen | November 23, 2014

Scandinavia: one, three, or many?

Visitors at the Swedish History Museum in Stockholm studying the showcase with objects from the Unna Saiva offering site in northern Sweden

Visitors at the Swedish History Museum in Stockholm studying objects from the Unna Saiva offering site in northern Sweden, displayed in the “Vikings” exhibition. Photo: M. Spangen ©

Next week I am off to Oslo to participate in an interesting conference about Viking Age identities in Scandinavia, Skandinavia: en, tre, eller mange? (“Scandinavia: one, three, or many?”), on the 3rd to the 5th of December.

The organizers are the Viking Age researchers´ group at the Museum of Cultural History, and the conference is the second of three events that explore various aspects of Viking Age research. This time the main question is how homogenous Scandinavia was by the end of the first milennium AD, and how different it was from neighbouring areas. Was there a common Scandinavian culture and societal structure or were there more regional differences than today, depending on various contacts and networks within and reaching outside of Scandinavia? In what way have the national and patriotic attitudes of the last two centuries affected our perception of a common “viking culture” as opposed to regional variations? And are the perceived differences in the Viking Age in the three Scandinavian countries really a result of different research traditions in these countries?

I have been invited to talk in the session Etnisitet: Vi, dere, og dem? (“Ethnicity: we, you, and them?”), and will give a paper called Samiske offerplasser eller “offer i de djupa skogarna”. Vikingtidens samiske identiteter i Norge og i Sverige (“Sami offering sites or “offerings in the deep forests”. Viking Age Sami identities in Norway and in Sweden.”). Here I will discuss some real and some perceived differences in Sami offering sites in Norway and Sweden, including how and why the discussion about ethnicity and identity in relation to this topic differs between the two countries.

The conference will be held in the Scandiavian languages, but hopefully the contributions will be made available as articles in English sometime in the near future. Read more about the conference and download the full program here (in Norwegian).



  1. […] for the study I have done of the exhibition of Sami pasts in the Swedish National History Museum (see older blogpost), and the theories that we discussed during this week are ideas about the world, society, and […]

  2. […] to “Rethinking Sámi cultures in museums”. The article is a reworked and extended version of my presentation at the Viking conference “Skandinavia: En, tre, eller mange?” in Oslo last December. It features the following […]

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