Dr Alexandra Sanmark

Institute for Northern Studies
University of the Highlands and Islands
Scott's House,
Grainshore Road,
KW15 1FL

tel: +44 (0)1856 569301

Available to talk to the media about

  • History and archaeology of The Viking Age in general
  • The Viking and medieval periods in Scandinavia and Scotland (Orkney and Shetland in particular)
  • Nordic issues
  • Christianisation
  • Pre-Christian Religion

In these languages

English, Swedish


Fellow of The Royal Historical Society
Fellow of The Society of Antiquaries of London
Fellow of The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
Associate Professor of Archaeology at Uppsala University, Sweden

Previous employment
May 2007 – May 2010: Adjunct Lecturer in the Department of History, University of Western Australia.
January – December 2009: Research Fellowship funded by the Swedish Royal Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities February 2009 – April 2009: Part-time lecturer at the Department of History, Uppsala University
February 2007 – December 2008: Research fellow at The Institute of Archaeology, University College London.
February 2008 – May 2008: Research fellow at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo
2002 – 2007: Part-time lecturer at The Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University
September 2005 – August 2006: Lecturer and Course co-ordinator of the interdisciplinary MA programme Viking and Early Medieval Studies at The Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University
2003 – 2008: Part-time lecturer at the Department of History, Uppsala University
2003 and 2004: Part-time lecturer at the University of Gävle, Sweden
April 2005: Visiting scholar at the Icelandic Institute of Archaeology.
April – October 2003: Visiting scholar at the Centre for Viking and Medieval Studies, University of Oslo.

Current research

‘The Assembly Project’ – Meeting-places in Northern Europe AD 400-1500 (TAP). Funded by HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area).

The Assembly Project (TAP), represents a collaborative project bringing together scholars from Norway, Austria & the UK. This international team will investigate the role of assemblies in the creation of collective identities and emergent kingdoms in medieval Northern Europe (AD 400-1500). The first systems of governance in Europe have long been a neglected research theme, with the significance of these places in the medieval world highlighted only in recent publications. This project will build on these researches and offer a new, innovative, and large scale study of thing sites in the context of the transition from localised polities to large-scale kingdoms and nation states. TAP is a joint project run by the Universities of Oslo, Vienna, Durham and the Centre for Nordic Studies, UHI, Orkney.

Selected publications

Power and Conversion. A Comparative Study of Christianization in Scandinavia, (OPIA,
Uppsala 2004)

‘The Case of the Greenlandic Assembly Sites’, Journal of the North Atlantic, Special Volume 2 (2009-10), 178-192.

‘Living on: ancestors and the soul’, Signals of Belief in Early England: Anglo-Saxon Paganism Revisited, ed, M. Carver, A. Sanmark and S. Semple (Oxbow 2010)

‘The Topography of Outdoor Assembly in Europe with Reference to Recent Field Results from Sweden’, Co-author: Dr Sarah Semple, Perspectives in Landscape Archaeology. Lewis, H. & Semple, S. J. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports. BAR International Series 2103 (2010): 107-119.

‘Assembly Organisation and State Formation. A Case Study of Assembly Sites in Viking and Medieval Södermanland, Sweden’, Medieval Archaeology 53 (2009), 205-41

‘The communal nature of the judicial system in early medieval Norway’, Collegium Medievale 19 (2006), 31-64

‘Dietary regulation in early Christian Norway’, Viking and Medieval Scandinavia, vol. 1 (2005), 203-19

‘Places of Assembly: Recent results from Sweden and England’. Co-author: Dr Sarah Semple, Dept. of Archaeology, University of Durham, Fornvännen 103, 4:2008

The Vikings. Raiders and Traders. (Stockholm 2008).

’Tingsplatser, makt och landskap’ [Assembly sites, Power and Landscape]. Co-author: Dr Svante Norr, Hem till Jarlabanke : jord, makt och evigt liv i östra Mälardalen under järnålder och medeltid, ed. M. Olausson. (Lund: Historiska media, 2008), 379-396

‘The regulation of daily life in early Christian Norway’, Rettstekstar i mellomalderen – Idé og praksis. Rettshistoriske studier nr 17, Institutt for offentlig retts skriftserie nr 6/2006, ed. Jørn Øyrehagen Sunde (Oslo 2006), 1-37

‘The Princess in the Tower - the ill-fated marriage of Ingeborg of Denmark and Philip Augustus of France’, History Today, vol. 56 (2006), 10-16

‘Fast and Feast - Christianization through the Regulation of Everyday Life’, Viking Heritage Magazine 4/2005, 3-7

‘The Cross and the Sword - Strategies of Conversion in Medieval Europe’, Viking Heritage Magazine 3/2005, 9-13

‘The role of secular rulers in the conversion of Sweden’, The Cross goes North. Processes of conversion in Northern Europe AD 300–1300 (York 2002), 551–8

‘The Nature of Scandinavian Pre-Christian Religious Custom’, Offa 58 (2001), 237–47

Reviews include

‘Ritdómur. Steinunn Kristjánsdóttir, The Awakening of Christianity in Iceland. Discovery of a Timber Church and Graveyard at Þórarinsstaðir in Seyðisfjörður. GOTARC. Gothenburg Archaeological Thesis Series B No. 31, 2004’. Árbók Hins íslenzka fornleifafélags 2004-2005 (2007), 193-7

‘Kristjánsdóttir, S. The Awakening of Christianity in Iceland. Discovery of a Timber Church and Graveyard at Þórarinsstaðir in Seyðisfjörður’, Fornvännen 3:2006, 209-11

‘Monuments and Minds. Monument Re-use in Scandinavia in the Second Half of the First Millennium AD. (Acta Archaeologica Lundensia Series in 4o No.27). By Eva S. Thäte. 22 x 30 cm. xiii + 338 pp., 35 b&w figs. and graphs, 15 tables. Lund: Wallin & Dalholm, 2007. ISBN 91-89578-04-X (ISSN 0065-1001). Price: £ 45.00 hb’, Medieval Archaeology 53 (2009)

‘The Significant Detail. Europeanization at the Base of Society: The Case of the Baltic Rim 1100-1400 AD. (CCC Papers: 9). Edited by Nils Blomkvist & Therese Lindström. 22 x 30 cm. 319 pp., 110 colour and b&w pls. and figs., 9 tables. Visby: Gotland University, 2007. ISBN 91-973653-2-7 (ISSN 1404-0573). Price: 350 SEK hb’, Medieval Archaeology 53 (2009)

’Fendin, T. Döden som straff. Glömda gravar på Galgbacken’, Fornvännen 2009:3