About

This site was launched in 2015 and comprises a list of culturally Scandinavian Viking Age burial (and therefore funeral) sites in modern-day Scotland. Most of the burials included grave-goods and are dated c. 850-950. All of the burials are (sometimes presumed) inhumations unless otherwise noted. The regional lists include (in order from top to bottom) burials where the site is known exactly, or at least to within 25m; those where the burial site is known to within 100m; and those where the approximate burial site is known but not to within 100m. The list excludes numerous burials where the site cannot be determined with any confidence. Fortunately the majority of the sites are in the first category. Those which are not are noted in the entry. Cemeteries are considered as a group rather than by individual burials.

Burial sites covered on this website.
Burial sites covered on this website.

Some information is provided regarding the burials and finds, but the emphasis is on the locations of the burials. Those interested in the artefacts should consult the relevant publications. Some of the sites are yet to be fully published but in all instances the information contained herein is publicly available. Photographs of and from most burial sites are included. Satellite images from Google Maps are included, along with GPS points and the National Grid Reference (the latter taken from the RCAHMS ‘Canmore’ website). It is hoped that this will assist people in locating these burials and facilitate site visits (with due care and caution, especially for those on private land), and foster an appreciation of the landscapes in which the Scandinavians chose to bury their dead. Viewshed maps of burials where the location is known have been included. These show the areas visible from the burial sites.

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Oval brooch from Wick of Aith, Fetlar, Shetland. Photograph Shane McLeod, taken with the kind permission of Shetland Museum, Lerwick.

Although this information is made freely available, any use of the material should be credited and provide the url – please see the FAQ section for more information. Much of my information is drawn from other publications and these should also be cited. Each site entry includes a bibliography with the earliest and most useful articles, while books and articles that cover a number of burials are provided in the References tab. All of the photographs were taken, and maps made, by myself and should be credited as such.

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Castletown, Northern Mainland.

Acknowledgements:

This research was carried out when I was employed as an Impact Research Fellow at the University of Stirling, and I would like to thank everyone there for their help, particularly Richard Oram, Alasdair Ross, and Sally Armstrong-Payne, and Paul Adderley, Jon McArthur and Phil Bartie for ArcGIS help. I would also like to thank Alexandra Sanmark and Colleen Batey for their considerable help in the initial planning of the burial landscape project. The information contained herein has benefitted greatly from discussions with numerous people, but especially with Caroline Paterson, Colleen Batey, and James Graham-Campbell.  I would like to thank staff at the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) for advice on the legality of providing NGR and GPS points. All errors are of course my own. Fieldwork in the Hebrides was carried out with a Sandeman Grant (Sandeman Award Fund) from the Strathmartine Trust for which I am very grateful, while the fieldtrip to the Isle of Eigg was undertaken as part of the Funeralscapes re-enactment project – http://www.funeralscapes.org – with my colleagues Frances Wilkins and Carlos Galán-Díaz.

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shane Dr Shane McLeod: Shane.McLeod@utas.edu.au) I am a University Associate in History and Classics at the University of Tasmania. I have a BA and PhD from the University of Western Australia and a Master of Viking and Early Medieval Studies from Uppsala University. My research focusses upon migration, ethnicity and identity during the Viking Age, particularly in Britain. I have written a monograph and a number of journal articles,most of which can be read HERE.
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