Despite the abundance of graffiti inside and outside medieval buildings the study of this epigraphical source as a form of historical evidence has been until now underestimated. The walls of medieval churches in Scandinavia abound in graffiti, whose authors and contents are not recorded in official texts and monumental messages. Graffiti from medieval Scandinavia were however recorded with the local writing system: the runes. Through the observation of these non-official sources the paper aims to investigate in what way and with whom graffiti communicate, and to what extent graffiti distort (or reproduce) the cultural values of the hidden side of the Scandinavian society.
This proposed paper is drawn from my PhD research, looking at Viking Age burial customs in Norway from a gendered perspective. It is proposed that the highly visible burial monuments so typical of the Scandinavian Viking Age can be understood as statements of otherness, meant to communicate the separateness of local customs and beliefs from an increasingly uniform and encroaching Christian Europe. Specifically, the question will be asked if we can read the presence of female burials in such mounds as deliberate communication of a different gender ideology, meant to assert the stronger position of women in Viking Age societies compared to European counterparts.
Ölvis rímur sterka is a set of rímur that was almost lost to time, and is based on an older saga which is completely lost to time. There is a derivative work based on the rímur, but it does not preserve the original context or plot of the saga. The rímur are only preserved in 3 manuscripts, dating from the 16th to 18th centuries, but my research has shown that the set of rímur should be considered among the oldest preserved rímur. Most likely they were composed around 1400. It seems apt that the topic of Ölvis rímur sterka and its derivative work should be resurected at Leeds, as A.G. Hooper was among the first to pay attention to the work and even provide an edition of the derivative saga in 1932. A great endevour which sadly seems to have slipped by Icelandic scholars and academic discourse.