6. Viking Congress 1969

     – Uppsala, Dalarna, Sweden






Anders Diös and Dag Stömbäck.


3rd - 12th August.



His Majesty the King Gustaf VI Adolf.

Honorary Presidents:

Sune Lindqvist, Emeritus Professor of Nordic Archaeology, University of Uppsala. Jöran Sahlgren, Emeritus Professor of Scandinavian Place-Names, University of Uppsala. Professor Torgny T. Segerstedt, Rector Magnificus, University of Uppsala. Elias Wessén, Emeritus Professor of Scandinavian Languages, University of Stockholm.

Honorary Treasurer:

Anders Diös, Fil.Dr.h.c., Honorary Member, Royal Gustav Adolf's Academy.

Organising Committee:

Professor Bertil Almgren, University of Uppsala; Dr Bo Almqvist, University of Uppsala;

Professor Gösta Berg, President, Royal Gustav Adolf's Academy; Mrs Birgit Bergfors (Assistant Treasurer); Dr E. O. Bergfors, University of Uppsala (Treasurer); Professor Sven B. F. Jansson, State Antiquary of Sweden; Professor Valter Jansson, Vice-President, Royal Gustav Adolf's Academy (Vice-Chairman); Mrs Valdis Ordéus, Fil.Lic. (Executive Secretary);Emeritus Professor Dag Strömbäck, President, Royal Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities (Chairman).

National Representatives:







Delegates of the Congress:

Britain Barnes, Michael P., Lecturer in Scandinavian Philology, University College, London; Binns, Alan, Senior Lecturer in English, University of Hull; Cruden, Stewart, Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments for Scotland, Edinburgh; Fell, Christine, Lecturer in English, University of Leeds; Foote, Peter G., Professor of Old Scandinavian, University College, London; Kirby, I.J., Professor of English, University of Iceland, Reykjavík; Page, Ray, Lecturer in Anglo-Saxon, Cambridge University; Smith, E. Alistair, Lecturer in Geography, University of Aberdeen; Taylor, Arnold, Senior Lecturer and Supervisor of Icelandic Studies, University of Leeds; Townsend, John, Assistant Keeper, Department of Printed Books, British Museum, London; Turville-Petre, Gabriel, Professor of Ancient Icelandic, Oxford University; Wightman, Ivy, Mrs Alderman, former Lord Mayor of York; Wilson, David M., Reader in Archaeology of the Anglo-Saxon Period, University College, London.

Denmark Bekker-Nielsen, Hans, Reader in Norse Philology, University of Odense; Lund, Niels, cand.phil., Odder; Olsen, Olaf, Museumsinspektör, Nationalmuseet, København; Roesdahl, Else, cand.art., Nationalmuseet, København.

Faroes Dahl, Sverri, Antikvarie, Tórshavn; Niclasen, Bjarni, Seminarieadjunkt, Tórshavn.

Iceland Magnússon, Þór, Þjóðminjavörður, Reykjavik; Pálsson, Hermann, Reader in Icelandic, University of Edinburgh.

Ireland Greene, David, Professor of Irish, Institute of Advanced Studies, Dublin; Sweeney, Seán, Raith House, Carrowbeg, Co. Mayo.

Norway Bø, Olav, Førstearkivar, Institutt for Folkminnevitskap, Oslo; Djupedal, Reidar, Docent, Universitetet, Bergen; Fett, Per, Førstekonservator, Historisk Museum, Bergen; Halvorsen, E. F., Professor, Universitetet, Oslo; Liestøl, Aslak, Førstekonservator, Universitetets Oldsaksamling, Oslo; Oftedal, Magne, Professor, Universitetet, Oslo; Professor Per Thorson could not attend because of illness but his paper was read for him and is printed here.

Sweden Almgren, Bertil, Professor of Nordic Archaeology, University of Uppsala; Almqvist, Bo, Docent of Folklore Research, University of Uppsala; Arrhenius, Birgit, First Antiquarian, Riksantikvarieämbetet, Stockholm; Arwidsson, Greta, Professor of Nordic Archaeology, University of Stockholm; Berg Gösta, Professor, Director of Skansen, Stockholm; Bergfors, E. O., Docent of Nordic Philology, University of Uppsala; Björklund, Stig, Docent of Nordic Philology, University of Uppsala; Fjellström, Phebe, Docent of Nordic Folklife Research, University of Uppsala; Gräslund, Anne-Sofie, Antiquarian, Riksantikvarieämbetet, Stockholm; Hagberg, Ulf-Erik, Docent of Nordic Archaeology, University of Uppsala; Hedblom, Folke, Docent of Nordic Philology, Director of Landsmåls- och Folkminnesarkivet, Uppsala; Hellberg, Lars, Docent of Nordic Philology, University of Uppsala; Holm, Gösta, Professor of Nordic Philology, University of Lund; Jansson, Sven B. F., Professor, State Antiquary of Sweden, Stockholm; Jansson, Valter, Professor of Swedish, University of Uppsala; Lindquist, Ivar, Emeritus Professor of Nordic Philology, University of Lund; Lindqvist, Sune, Emeritus Professor of Nordic Archaeology, University of Uppsala; Malmer, Brita, Docent in Numismatics, University of Stockholm; Moberg, Lennart, Professor of Nordic Philology, University of Uppsala; Nordahl Schönbäck, Else, Director of the City Museum, Sigtuna; Nylén, Erik, Docent of Nordic Archaeology, University of Uppsala; Nyman, Anders, Keeper, Nordiska Museet, Stockholm; Nyman, Åsa, Archivist at Landsmåls- och Folkminnesarkivet, Uppsala; Olsen, Pär, Docent of Nordic Archaeology, University of Uppsala; Ordéus, Valdis, Assistant Lecturer, University of Uppsala; Sandred, Karl Inge, Docent of English, University of Uppsala; Serning, Inga, Docent of Nordic Archaeology, University of Stockholm; Ström, Folke, Docent of History of Religion, University of Gothenburg; Strömbäck, Dag, Emeritus Professor of Folklore Research, University of Uppsala; Ståhl, Harry, Professor of Nordic Place-Name Research, University of Uppsala; Professor G. Hafström, Professor of Legal History, University of Lund, was not able to attend the Congress, but the contribution he had intended to make is printed here in the Proceedings.


Half day excursion was made to Gamla Uppsala and to Valsgärde.


All day visit to Birka and Adelsö, sailing from Stockholm in M/S Gurli.


All day tour of some rune-stones of Uppland and a visit to Sigtuna where ancient churches, Fornhemmet, the City Museum and more rune-stones were inspected.


All day tour to Stockholm by way of Vallentuna, Täby and other sites. In Stockholm the Museum of History and Antiquities and the great ship Vasa and its museum were visited.


Bonäs Bygdegård in Mora, Upper Dalarna by coaches.


Excursion to archaeological sites at Vindförberg, Sunnanäng and Sollerön. The return route was by way of Mora with a visit to the Anders Zorn Museum and Zorngården. On the return to Uppsala by way of Falun, the ancient copper mine and the Museum and Dalarnas Museum were visited.


Universityof Uppsala, Royal Gustav Adolf's Academy, City of Uppsala, Sigtuna City Council , Anders Diös.


Congress Diary:

The Congress was formally opened on the morning of Monday, 4 August, with an address of welcome by Professor Torgny T. Segerstedt, Rector Magnificus of the University of Uppsala. Papers were then delivered by Professor Strömbäck* and Professor Almgren*. During the forenoon kind words of welcome and encouragement came by telegram from His Majesty Gustav VI Adolf, Patron of the Congress. At lunch that day members were guests of the University at Värmlands nation. The Rector Magnificus presided, and the thanks of the Congress to him and to the University were moved by Professor Halvorsen.


After lunch members visited either the archaeological collections in Gustavianum under the guidance of Professor Almgren or a special exhibition of manuscripts in Carolina Rediviva, the University Library, under the guidance of Dr Gert Hornwall and Dr Åke Davidsson. On reassembly the Congress heard a paper by Mr Liestøl*. At 5 p.m. the members inspected the imposing bookshop of Messrs Almqvist och Wiksell, where they were received by Mr F. D. Thomsen. Thereafter Messrs Almqvist och Wiksell, principally represented by Mr Hæggström, the Managing Director, entertained the Congress to dinner at Västmanlands-Dala nation. It was a memorable banquet. Sæhrímnir, whom the Einherjar could never entirely despatch, was finally consumed; and by a beneficent anachronism the liquor flowing from the teats of Heiðrún proved to be purest brännvin.Mr Hæggström delighted the gathering with a stirring speech, during which he broke into song; and Mrs Alderman Ivy Wightman, sometime Lord Mayor of York, responded for the Congress and broke into poetry. But expressing the thoughts of all the members, she spoke of her particular pride and delight in being the guest of one of the great academic publishing houses of the world, congratulating Messrs Almqvist och Wiksell on their outstanding services to scholarship in general and particularly to those branches of knowledge the Congress was in being to promote. That evening the existence of the Congress as a guild or convivium was firmly established and many new friendships were made.


On Tuesday, 5 August, the Congress heard papers by Professor Ståhl*, Mr Cruden and Mr Dahl*. In the afternoon an excursion was made to Gamla Uppsala―where Mr Lars Allberg, proprietor of the present-day feasting-hall there, kindly refreshed members with mead― and to Valsgärde. Expert guidance was provided by Professor Lindqvist, Professor Arwidsson and Professor Almgren. It was very hot and the shade of juniper bushes was eagerly sought. In the evening the Congress attended a dinner given at Östgöta nation by the City of Uppsala. The Chairman of the City Council, Miss Blenda Ljungberg, presided. Professor Greene thanked Miss Ljungberg and the City for their interest and hospitality.


Wednesday, 6 August, was devoted to a visit to Birka and Adelsö, sailing from Stockholm in M/S Gurli. The weather was perfect and the company in high spirits, grateful for the glories of Mälaren and for the skilful guidance of Professor Arwidsson, Professor Almgren, Dr Björn Ambrosiani and Mrs Birgit Arrhenius.


Thursday, 7 August, was spent on a tour of some rune-stones of Uppland under the leadership of Professor Valter Jansson. The Congress finally arrived at Sigtuna, where members were instructed by Professor Almgren on the ancient churches, more rune-stones were inspected, and great pleasure was taken in Fornhemmet, the City Museum, where a special exhibition of material from Sigtuna and Birka had been arranged by Mrs Else Nordahl Schönbäck, the museum's director. After some days of indisposition Professor Strömbäck delighted his colleagues by rejoining the Congress at this moment. The Sigtuna City Council then entertained members to dinner. Mr Gustaf Delin presided, and Dr Olsen thanked the City Council on behalf of the Congress. Members were touched by the presentation to them of a replica of an Olaf Skötkonung coin as a memento of the occasion.


On Friday, 8 August, the Congress travelled to Stockholm by way of Vallentuna, Täby and other sites where Professor Sven B. F. Jansson commented on the ornament and elucidated the inscriptions of a number of rune-stones; with the aid of eminent British scholars he was able to provide translations in tolerable English. In Stockholm the Congress was entertained to an al fresco luncheon by the Royal Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities, at which members were welcomed by Professor Jansson, as Secretary of the Academy and State Antiquary. Thanks on behalf of the Congress were moved by Mr Cruden. Sections of the Museum were then visited under the guidance of the curators; and Mr Wilson lectured on the St Ninian Isle Treasure. Later the Congress visited the great ship Vasa and its museum, and there Mr Binns thanked Dr Per Lundström for his guidance.


On the morning of Saturday, 9 August, a paper on runic inscriptions from Sigtuna and Vassunda was read by Professor Lindquist; the next paper by Professor Thorson* was read in his absence by Mr Binns; and the last paper of the Congress in Uppsala was given by Professor Turville-Petre*. The Congress then discussed its continued existence. It was decided that the next gathering should be in Dublin, in 1972 or 1973, and that, if possible, the meeting thereafter should be in Greenland. It was agreed that the preparation of the Proceedings of the present Congress should be entrusted to Professor Strömbäck and Professor Foote. Telegrams were sent on behalf of the Congress to Dr Kristján Eldjárn, President of Iceland, Professor Einar Ól. Sveinsson, Professor Christian Matras and Professor Johannes Bøe. Professor Foote and Professor Greene thanked the organisers of the Congress for their most successful efforts; members warmly acknowledged the special debt of gratitude they owed to Dr Erik Olof Bergfors, Mrs Valdis Ordéus and Mrs Birgit Bergfors.


That evening members were the guests of Royal Gustaf Adolf's Academy in the Academy's rooms. Professor Gösta Berg, President of the Academy, presided. Mr Wilson thanked him and the Academy for their generous invitation.


That would have brought the Congress to an end, and all too soon for most members, had it not been for the enthusiasm and unique munificence of Dr Anders Diös in arranging for the continuation of the gathering at Bonäs Bygdegård in Mora, Upper Dalarna. Two coaches took some forty members of the Congress there on the morning of Sunday, 10 August. On arrival they witnessed a church-boat race on Orsasjön―the two best crews were awarded a Viking Congress prize by Dr Diös―and folk-dances performed by boys and girls from the neighbouring parish of Våmhus. Some members were accommodated in Bonäs, others were fortunate enough to be quartered in idyllic surroundings at Fryksås, a fäbod some ten miles to the north. On formal assembly at Bonäs an inimitable speech of welcome was delivered by Dr Diös, and papers were subsequently read by Dr Björklund* and Dr Serning*. Dr Diös presided with Professor Strömbäck at supper; Dr Page thanked our hosts.


On Monday, 11 August, Dr Serning led an excursion to archaeological sites at Vindförberg, Sunnanäng and Sollerön, where Mr Karl Lärka also acted as guide. The return route was by way of Mora where the Congress visited the Anders Zorn Museum and Zorngården. Dr Erik Forssman welcomed the Congress and talked of Anders Zorn and his work. Members were entertained to coffee by the commune of Mora köping, represented by the Chairman of the Council, Mr Olof Bergman. Mr Sweeney offered the Congress's thanks for this notable hospitality.


Supper that evening was a sentimental occasion. There were speeches and translations of speeches, music and sad songs. A speech by Mr Taylor, in which he respectfully and affectionately bestowed the title of Dalakonungr on Dr Diös, was the last official vote of thanks to the Congress's Honorary Treasurer; but members of the Congress afterwards forwarded to him an illuminated address commemorating the stay in Dalarna which had brought them so much delightful recreation and intellectual stimulus.


On Tuesday, 12 August, the Congress returned to Uppsala by way of Falun, where they inspected the ancient copper mine and the Museum, under the guidance of Dr Sven Rydberg, the Museum's director. The Congress were then entertained to luncheon, beautifully arranged by Mrs Elsa Carlmarker, in the elegant salon of Stora Kopparbergs Bergslags AB. Mr Erik Sundblad, Managing Director of the company, presided. It transpired in the course of the luncheon that Stora Kopparbergs Bergslags AB had recently acquired interests in Nova Scotia and it was agreed that it was the academic duty of members of the Congress to find evidence of Norse Viking Age occupation in that province as soon as possible; a small committee under the chairmanship of Mr Liestøl is in process of formation. Professor Foote did his best to express the Congress's thanks for the charming hospitality extended to them and to recall members of the Congress to a philological way of life. His omissions were made good by Professor Strömbäck.


After lunch the Congress visited Dalarnas Museum, under the guidance of Miss Birgitta Dandanell.


Then everyone went sadly home, except the organisers―and no one could begrudge them their feeling of relief after such great success had crowned their strenuous labours.

Congress Proceedings:

Proceedings of the Sixth Viking Congress. Uppsala 3-10 August, Bonäs, Dalarna 10-12 August 1969. Ed. Peter Foote and Dag Strömbäck. Uppsala 1971.


Sixth Viking Congress, Uppsala and Bonäs 1969 7
Members of the Congress 9
List of plates and figures 12
Abbreviations 13
Congress Diary 15
A Congress prelude: Uppsala in Old Norse literature. By dag strömbäck. 21
Vital factors in the success of the Vikings. By bertil almgren 33

Some characteristic features of ancient popular tradition in Upper Dalarna.

By stig Björklund



Recent excavations on Viking Age sites in the Faroes. By sverri dahl 45
The Viking Congress at Bonäs. By anders Diös 57
Atlanticand Baltic earldoms. By gerhard hafström 61
The literate Vikings. By aslak liestøl 69
The Viking Age in Dalarna. By inga serning 78
Some old Uppland island names. By harry ståhl 87
A new interpretation of Viking. By per thorson† 101
Stray thoughts on scaldic poetry. By gabriel turville-petre 105