Dr Alexandra Sanmark

Institute for Northern Studies
Webster Building,
Perth College UHI
Crieff Road, Perth

tel: +44 (0)1738 877218

Available to talk to the media about

•    History and archaeology of The Viking Age in Scandinavia, Scotland and the North Atlantic
•    Christianisation and pre-Christian Religion in Europe  
•    Medieval Scotland
•    Viking and medieval women
•    Law and assembly
•    Icelandic Sagas
•    Nordic issues
•    Gender

In these languages

English, Swedish


Dr Alexandra Sanmark undertook her undergraduate and postgraduate training at the University of London and obtained her PhD on the Christianisation of Scandinavia from University College London. She was then employed in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Uppsala, where she was Programme Leader for the MA programme Viking and Early Medieval Scandinavia. After two years as Research Fellow at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, she started working for the University in 2009, first in Orkney and currently in Perth.

Current research

Dr Sanmark has a strong research interest in Iron Age Scandinavia, in particular the Viking Age and the Viking Expansion in the west.

Since her PhD she has been fascinated by Viking Age religion and the Christianisation of northwest Europe. Her interests also include assembly and political practice and she has collaborated on The Assembly Project (TAP), a three-year international project funded by the Humanities in Europe Research Area (HERA). TAP examined multidisciplinary evidence for the emergence of assembly sites and administrative frameworks across Northern Europe from AD 400-1500. Dr Sanmark’s research strand was entitled Assembly and Colonisation and explores the establishment of the Norse thing organisation and assembly sites in the areas of Norse settlement and colonisation, compared and contrasted to the situation in the Viking homelands. This work resulted in the book Viking Law and Order. Places and Rituals of Assembly in the Medieval North (Edinburgh University Press, 2017).

Building on her interest in the island nations of Pacific Ocean developed during her PhD, Dr Sanmark, together with Prof. Donna Heddle, is working on a project on sustainable tourism in Vanuatu. As part of the first year’s work, existing cultural heritage sites were evaluated and future strategies suggested. Since then Dr Sanmark and Prof Heddle have been involved in further work in Vanuatu and are currently developing an International Tourist Guiding Qualification for the island nation. 

Selected publications


Viking Law and Order, Places and Rituals of Assembly in the Medieval North. (Edinburgh University Press, 2017).

Negotiating The North: Meeting Places in The Middle Ages in The North Sea Zone. Final project monograph by The Assembly Project. Co-authors: A. Sanmark, F. Iversen, M. Mehler and S. Semple. The Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph Series (Taylor and Francis, in press).

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

Other select publications

‘Scotland’s ‘Mysterious Picts’ and Iceland’s ‘Saga Vikings’ – How Sources and Contexts Shape Research Agendas’, META Historiskarkeologisk tidskrift (2019)

‘Things in Vikings’, A. Sanmark and H. Williams, Vikings and the Vikings: The Norse World(s) of the History Channel Series, eds. Lister, K., Hardwick, P. (2019)

‘Women at the Thing’, Kvinner i vikingtid [Nordic Women in the Viking Age], eds. N. Coleman and N. L. Løkka, Scandinavian Academic Press (2014), 85-100.

‘Patterns of Assembly. Norse Thing Sites in Shetland,’ Debating the Thing in the North I, Selected Papers from Workshops Organized by The Assembly Project, Journal of the North Atlantic, Special Volume 5. Lead editor: Alexandra Sanmark (2013).

‘Assembly in North West Europe: collective concerns for early societies?’ Co-author: Dr Sarah Semple, European Journal of Archaeology 16:3 (2013).

‘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), 162-84

‘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