New module in Celts and Vikings in Contact: the North Atlantic a Shared Cultural Space

For those with an interest in the Vikings, the Picts and the Gaels, the Centre for Nordic Studies is excited to announce a joint teaching project with the University of Iceland and the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies. From January 2015 the Centre will be offering a new MLitt module entitled Celts and Vikings in Contact: the North Atlantic a Shared Cultural Space.

Around 700AD Celtic peoples dominated the North Atlantic. The Picts lived in the Northern Isles of Scotland, while Gaelic-speaking clerics from the Hebrides and Ireland had sailed to the Faroe Islands and Iceland. By 900AD these areas had been settled by the Vikings. The peoples and cultures were changed by their contact. This module will explore the result of this interaction between peoples and the extent to which cultural syntheses developed, both in the British Isles and in Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland. It will examine the impact of the Gaels on Icelandic settlement and their continued impact of Icelandic folklore, and the reasons why they were written out of official Icelandic historiography. It will also explore Norse elements in the culture of the Gaelic areas of Scotland and Ireland and the creation of societies of mixed Gaelic Norse ethnicity. It will be a multi-disciplinary study including archaeology, folklore, history, place-names, genetics and literature.


This will be team taught by Professor Donna Heddle, Dr Andrew Jennings and Dr Alexandra Sanmark from UHI, and Professor Gisli Sigurdsson, Professor Terry Gunnell, Dr Agnar Helgason, Dr Elín Ingibjörg Eyjólfsdóttir and Vilborg Davíðsdóttir from Iceland. The module will be available as an option for students on any of CNS programmes including Viking Studies, or as a standalone option for students throughout UHI. If you want to know more about the module contact Dr Jennings on 01595 772494 or Dr Sanmark on 01856 569301.