Greer Jarrett

Doctoral Student

Research areas and keywords

Keywords

  • Archaeology, Cartography, Experimental Archaeology, Critical Mapping, GIS, Viking Age, Maritime Archaeology

Research

My research revolves around experiential studies of Viking Age seafaring, and focuses on alternative ways of representing and disseminating experiential data via critical cartography.

The study of past human experiences and worldviews is becoming increasingly central to archaeological research, as it allows us to empathise with our ancestors and better understand the material record they have left us. Conventional western science prioritises a static, God’s eye view of spatiotemporal data, which is far removed from the experience of being in the world. Over the next four years I aim to provide a much-needed alternative for visualising and analysing past experience. Drawing on non-western mapping techniques and recent developments in digital archaeology, I move away from the universalist tendencies of convetional cartography and instead focus on the dynamic, temporal and culturally-contingent nature of human experience.

To achieve this I shall develop and execute a series of fieldwork campaigns centred around the dynamic, multi-sensorial experience of sailing and navigating in the Baltic and North Atlantic between c. 800 and 1100 CE. I shall then process my field data in a series of cartographic models that challenge our conventional representations of space and place. I will use the resulting “maps” to generate new questions and new data about Norse navigatoin, mental geographies, worldviews, geopolitical relationships and settlement distribution.

In my Master’s thesis I laid the groundwork for some of this research and worked with the data gathered at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark. Drawing on alternative mapping projects in archaeology, anthropology and ethnography, I highlighted the absence of time and temporal dynamism in conventional western mapping, and put forward a possible methodology for integrating time into archaeological mapping using isochronal cartography. I hope to expand on these results and discover other fruitful ways of mapping the past.