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Book: Comparative Perspectives on Colonisation, Maritime Interaction and Cultural Integration

Chapter: 9. Bronze Age Vikings? A Comparative Analysis of Deep Historical Structures and Their Dynamics

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.24610


The concept of piracy is treated in several papers in this volume as a possible model also for Bronze Age seafaring—some even explicitly comparing the sea ventures of Bronze Age mariners with those of the Vikings. This is reflected in Christian Horn’s work but most explicitly stated by Kristian Kristiansen in this article. Kristiansen observes deep structural correspondences between the Bronze Age and the Viking Age. These, he argues, were based on new maritime technologies that allowed the expansion of trade networks and the formation of semi-independent maritime economies. Kristiansen argues that population pressure led to the formation of war-bands of young warriors or sons without property, who used the maritime economy as an outlet and engaged in seasonal raiding, trading or piracy. This evolved over time into more massive colonising ventures and migrations.

Chapter Contributors

  • Kristian Kristiansen ( - kkristiansen) 'University of Gothenburg, Sweden'