What’s happened so far?

The project has been going for a few months now but since the web site is just up, it seems appropriate that the first blog post should be a quick recapitulation of what has happened so far. As with any new research project, the first period has been spent sorting out a lot of different practical stuff, going through the research/progress plan and basically making the best possible preparations which will, hopefully, ensure that the project runs smoothly for the next three years.

The first thing that had to be done was to run the project plan through the national ethics committee. Every project which intends to make use of human material will have to have to be approved by the ethics committee. I will not go into detail about how this process works at this point. There are many issues regarding access to human remains as research material and I think I might discuss this in a separate post. To make a long story short, through the goodwill of the committee members,  I managed to have my application processed in their December meeting and they gave me a positive reply. I have lately been in discussions with NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet regarding the practicalities of getting access to the material (they are the curators of the skeletal collections I will be sampling from). They have also responded positively to the project and an agreement has been made. I am pleased to say that I have access to the material I need.

Another thing which had to be started as early as possibly was the collection of precipitation samples from Trondheim. Samples will be collectedPrecipitation collector monthly throughout the year to get proper background data for the oxygen isotope composition in Trondheim. In this respect, I am grateful to Bj√łrn Frengstad at NGU (Norges Geologiske Unders√łkelse) who managed to get hold of, and set up, a water collector. He will also be responsible for collecting and storing the samples. The water collector can be seen in the photo to the left.

In February, I travelled to Trondheim to collect the archaeological documentation for the different graveyards. This documentation is located in the Trondheim office of the Directorate for Cultural Heritage (Riksantikvaren). I spent three days there photocopying plan drawings, excavation recording forms and photographs from the excavations. This work was made easy by the help of the people working there and especially Ian Reed who always seems to know what information is available for the different sites and is also in perfect control  of where everything is located. It is always nice visiting the Riksantikvaren/NIKU office in Trondheim, although it was -16 degrees when I was there which is slightly less than I care for. The reason I collected all this information was to get a best possible picture of the different graveyards and the individual skeletons. Having gone through all this information I have developed a good picture of the material which has been important for deciding which individuals to include in my final sample.

These have been the major developments during the first few months of the year.

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Immigration and mobility in mediaeval and post-mediaeval Norway
Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion, University of Bergen
E-mail: stian.hamre@ahkr.uib.no

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