Gods of Greenland: Thor, Christ, and Change at the Edge of the North Atlantic (AD 950-1050)
My research is focused on religious transition in settlement-era Norse Greenland. Literary sources written in Iceland a century later insist that the first Norse settlers of Greenland were pagans, converting to Christianity at the behest of Leifr Eiriksson and the Norwegian crown.
Despite finding sporadic and ambiguous evidence of pagan religiosity throughout the 20th century, archaeological research of the settlements has historically focused primarily on architectural and environmental concerns, leaving a great deal of room to explore the complex relationships between church, state, and individual during the settlement area.
The poster would consist of a map of Greenland with offset sections showing the Eastern and Western Settlements in more detail. Certain and suspected pagan finds will be analyzed contextually in their relationship to contemporary Christian sites and the interplay of secular and spiritual power structures. Evidence of both pagan and Christian belief existing side by side has been discovered in close proximity to seats of secular power, such as Brattahlid. Rather than determine a "turning point" in Greenlandic religion, this may indicate a pluralistic religious society. This poster will provide a geographical context for the interactions of two faiths and the power structure of late tenth century Greenland.
Jess' work will be presented at the Festival of Postgraduate Research 17th May 2012 - view Jess' festival poster.