Nordic Research

The Northern Scholars Lectures: Peder Gammeltoft

About the lecture

Where did Scotland’s Viking-Age Scandinavian settlers come from? Suggestions from the study of place-names

By Dr Peder Gammeltoft

For researchers of Viking-Age Scotland, a recurring question has long been: Where, exactly, did the Scandinavian settlers come from? While there is general agreement that this was mainly Norway, attempts at pinpointing their origins more closely have proven altogether more difficult.

This lecture will present a new GIS-based approach to the problem, staring with distribution maps of Norwegian place-name types from a period spanning the Iron Age and Viking Age and later Middle Ages. By comparing which name types do and do not occur in both Scotland and Norway, it will be possible to offer a few tantalising glimpses of possible origins of exodus – and, not least, how they compare with internal Norwegian developments.

About the speaker

Peder Gammeltoft, PhD., FSA Scot, has been Senior Academic Librarian and Scientific Manager of the Norwegian Language Collections at the University of Bergen since November 2017, where he has responsibility for substantial nation-wide archives - physical and digital - within the fields of onomastics, lexicography, dialectology and Old Norse studies. Prior to this, Peder was Associate Professor and Head of the Name Research Section in the Department of Scandinavian Research at the University of Copenhagen, where he worked extensively with place-names studies in Scandinavia and its Viking-Age colonies in Scotland, England and Normandy. During his time in the department, he became well-known to many scholars in Scotland, contributing on a regular basis to conferences and seminars, and participating in projects and publications arranged by local universities and learned societies.

Peder’s interests in place-names of Scandinavian origin in the British Isles and Normandy, as well as place-name standardisation, are reflected in many of his publications. He was a longstanding member of the Danish Place-Name Commission, serving as Chairperson from 2015-2017, and his interests have also led to a number of positions in the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Naming. 

The event is free and no booking is required. It will be followed by a short reception.

Departmental seminar

As part of his Northern Scholars visit to Edinburgh, Dr Peder Gammeltoft will also be taking part in a departmental seminar in Room 1.02, 50 George Square at 1:45pm on Thursday 30th May. He’ll be joined by University of Edinburgh colleagues Dr Chris Cooijmans (Scandinavian Studies) and Dr Bruce Gittings (Geography) for a workshop on GIS in Humanities Research, with a GIS Surgery and Discussion Panel at 3:30pm. Everyone welcome.

About the Northern Scholars 

The Northern Scholars Scheme was established at the University of Edinburgh in 1956.

Its role is to foster co-operation between scholars of Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, and colleagues in the University of Edinburgh.

Mutual areas of interest include aspects of linguistics, and historical and other cultural studies which are common to these countries and to Scotland. 

Each year, the Northern Scholars Scheme Committee sponsors visits by scholars of the member countries to Edinburgh, during which time they give departmental seminars and public lectures.

Recent Northern Scholars include Dr Andrew Newby (Tampere Institute for Advanced Social Research, Finland), Professor Felix Riede (Aarhus University), Professor Jens Peter Schjødt (Aarhus University), Dr Svetlana Pogodina (University of Latvia), Dr Danita Burke (University of Southern Denmark), and Professor Klemens Kappel (University of Copenhagen).

Are you interested in Scandinavian Studies at Edinburgh?

We are the only university in Scotland, and one of only two in the UK, to offer undergraduate honours programmes in Scandinavian Studies, enabling you to learn modern Danish, Swedish or Norwegian in the context of Scandinavian culture, past and present. We also welcome candidates for postgraduate research degrees (MSc by Research and PhD) in various aspects of Nordic languages, literature, history, culture and society.

Find out more about Scandinavian Studies at Edinburgh 

May 30 2019 -

The Northern Scholars Lectures: Peder Gammeltoft

'Where did Scotland’s Viking-Age Scandinavian settlers come from? Suggestions from the study of place-names'. A free public lecture by visiting Northern Scholar Dr Peder Gammeltoft (University of Bergen).

Room G.05
50 George Square