This page will soon provide an overview of medieval studies in Denmark. It will offer an introduction and links to the websites of the different Danish institutions where medieval studies research and teaching are pursued, as well as to various museums, archives, and libraries that hold collections of medieval source material. There are a number of medieval studies centres and networks within these institutions. They focus on the Danish Middle Ages in different ways, often with a view to engaging non-academic audiences in the period. Danish medieval studies websites are highly varied, and although most sites provide introductions in Danish and English, the English versions are often highly abridged.
As in other Nordic countries, Viking studies constitute an important part of Danish medieval studies. However, the Viking period has not conventionally been included in the ‘Middle Ages’ in Denmark: within Danish scholarly tradition, ‘Middle Ages’ covers the period c. 1050 to 1550, and is preceded by the Viking Age (c. 750–1050), and the Germanic Iron Age (c. 400–750). Only in recent years have Danish scholars begun to use the term ‘Middle Ages’ in a broader, pan-European sense.
Written source material from the Danish Middle Ages is quite scarce compared with the resources available in other Western European countries, and very little exists from the period before 1100. As a consequence, a number of disciplines have developed around medieval studies to complement the traditional fields of history and literary studies. Most important among these is archaeology; more specialised fields include toponymy, runology, and pollen analysis. The range of academic approaches to medieval research has stimulated the recent development of interdisciplinary forums dedicated to medieval studies across Denmark. Thus one may find Danish medievalists in the most unexpected places.
This preliminary presentation is expected to be completed in the coming year (2011–2012). However, even then it will not be exhaustive, so any additional suggestions for its expansion will always be welcome.