Individual geographic mobility in a Viking-Age emporium: Burial practices and strontium isotope analyses of Ribe's earliest inhabitants

Sarah Croix, Karin Margarita Frei, Søren Michael Sindbæk, Morten Søvsø

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Individual geographic mobility is a key social dynamic of early Viking-Age urbanization in Scandinavia. We present the first comprehensive geographic mobility study of Scandinavia’s earliest emporium, Ribe, which emerged around AD 700 in the North Sea region of Denmark. This article presents the results of strontium isotope analyses of 21 individuals buried at Ribe, combined with an in-depth study of the varied cultural affinities reflected by the burial practices. In order to investigate geographic mobility in early life/childhood, we sampled multiple teeth and/or petrous bone of individuals, which yielded a total of 43 strontium isotope analyses. Most individuals yielded strontium isotope values that fell within a relatively narrow range, between 87Sr/86Sr = 0.709 to 0.711. Only two individuals yielded values >87Sr/86Sr = 0.711. This suggests that most of these individuals had local origins but some had cultural affinities beyond present-day Denmark. Our results raise new questions concerning our understanding of the social and cultural dynamics behind the urbanization of Scandinavia.
TidsskriftP L o S One
Udgave nummer8
Antal sider24
StatusUdgivet - 27 aug. 2020