Prof Stefan Brink

Contact Information

Department of ASNC
9 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DP
Email: sb2322@cam

Honorary Research Associate, Dept. of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, University of Cambridge
Formerly The Sixth Century Chair in Scandinavian Studies
Adjunct Professor in Archaeology at the University of Aberdeen
Associate Professor (Docent) in Scandinavian Language at Uppsala University
Fellow of The Royal Society of Edinburgh
Fellow of The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities, Stockholm
Fellow of the Royal Gustavus Adolphus Academy, Uppsala
Member of The Institute of Advanced Studies, Princeton 2017-18

Departmental and College Responsibilities

Between 1st of October 2019 until 30 September 2020 I was attached to the Heinz Heinen Institute of Advanced Studies, Bonn, Germany, as a Senior Fellow (


I have been invited as a Fellow to the Institute of Advanced Studies at Durham University for the Autumn 2022.

I am also, since April 2019, Professor of Scandinavian Studies (20%) at the Institute for Nordic Studies (Orkney), University of Highlands and Islands (

Academic Interests

Society, Culture and Languages of Early Scandinavia
The Christianization and Early Church Organization in Scandinavia
Landscape Studies (Scandinavia)
Language and History in the Early Germanic World
Viking Slavery
Germanic Place-Names
Early Law in Scandinavia
Old Norse Mythology

Editor of the Journal Viking and Medieval Scandinavia (Brepols)
Editor of the Series Studies in Viking and Medieval Scandinavia (Brepols)
General Editor of the Series Acta Scandinavica (Brepols)
General Editor Medieval Nordic Laws (a subseries to Routledge Medieval Translations)
Member of the Editorial Board of Northern Scotland (Edinburgh University Press)

Selected Publications

 I have been honoured with a Festschrift by kind friends and colleagues:

Making the Profane Sacred in the Viking Age: Essays in Honour of Stefan Brink


Lectures given by Stefan Brink

the Dorothea Coke Memorial Lecture at University College London in March 2005;

the Sir David M. Wilson Lecture at British Museum/Dept. of Archaeology, University College London in October 2011;

the Hakon Hakonsson Lecture, Largs September 2011;

The G. O. Sayles Memorial Lecture on Mediaeval History 2015, University of Aberdeen (March 2015).

Some recent publications by Stefan Brink

Sockenbildning och sockennamn. Studier i äldre territoriell indelning i Norden. [Parish-formation and Parish-names. Studies in early territorial division in Scandinavia.] (Acta Academiae Regiae Gustavi Adolphi 57.) Uppsala 1990. [Doctoral thesis.]

 “Cult sites in northern Sweden”. Old Norse and Finnish religions and cultic place-names. (Scripta instituti Donneriani Aboensis XIII.) Åbo 1990.

Hälsinglands äldsta skattelängd. Hjälpskattelängden ”Gärder och hjälper” från år 1535. Med inledning och kommentarer utg. av Stefan Brink. (Skrifter utg. genom Ortnamnsarkivet i Uppsala. Ser. C. Källskrifter 2.) Uppsala 1994.

 “Home. The term and the concept as seen from a linguistic and settlement-historical point of view”, The Concept of Home : An Interdisciplinary View, ed. C. N. Benjamin & D. Stea. London, New York & Sydney 1995.

Jämtlands kristnande [The Christianization of the province of Jämtland], ed. Stefan Brink. (Projektet Sveriges kristnande. Publikationer 4.) Uppsala 1996.

Political and Social Structures in Early Scandinavia. A Settlement-historical Pre-study of the Central Place”. Tor. Journal of Archaeology 28 (1996).

“Forsaringen – Nordens äldsta lagbud”. Femtende tværfaglige Vikingesymposium. Aarhus Universitet 1996, ed. E. Roesdahl & P. Meulengracht Sørensen. Århus 1996.

 “Political and social structures in early Scandinavia 2. Aspects of space and territoriality – the settlement district”, Tor. Journal of Archaeology 29 (1997).

 “Names and Naming of Slaves”. The Historical Encyclopedia of World Slavery I & II. Gen. ed. J. P. Rodriguez. Santa Barbara: Cal. 1997.

“The formation of the Scandinavian parish, with some remarks regarding the English impact on the process”. The Community, the Family and the Saint. Patterns of Power in Early Medieval Europe, ed. J. Hill & M. Swan. (International Medieval Research 4.) Brepols: Turnhout 1998.

 “Social order in the early Scandinavian landscape”. Settlement and Landscape, ed. Ch. Fabech & J. Ringtved. Århus 1999.

 “Husby”. Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde 15 (2000) pp. 274–278.

Mythologizing Landscape. Place and Space of Cult and Myth.” Kontinuitäten und Brüche in der Religionsgeschichte. Ed. M. Stausberg. (Ergänzungsbände zum Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde 31.) Berlin & New York: de Gruyter 2001.

 “Slavery in Scandinavia, as reflected in names, runes and sagas”. New Perspectives on Slavery. Ed. T. Iversen. Trondheim.

 “Nordic language history and archaeology”. The Nordic Languages. Ed. O. Bandle. (HSK – Handbücher zur Sprach- und Kommunikationswissenschaft.) de Gruyter: Berlin & New York 2002.

 “Sociolinguistic perspectives and language contacts in Proto-Nordic”. The Nordic Languages. Ed. O. Bandle. (HSK – Handbücher zur Sprach- und Kommunikationswissenschaft.) de Gruyter: Berlin & New York 2002.

 “Sociolinguistic perspectives in the transitional period between Proto-Nordic and Old Nordic”. The Nordic Languages. Ed. O. Bandle. (HSK – Handbücher zur Sprach- und Kommunikationswissenschaft.) de Gruyter: Berlin & New York 2002.

 “Law and Legal Customs in Viking Age Scandinavia”. Scandinavians from the  Vendel Period to the Tenth Century, ed. J. Jesch. San Marino: CIRSS 2003.

 “Legal Assemblies and Judicial Structure in Early Scandinavia.” Political  assemblies in the earlier Middle Ages. Ed. P. Barnwell & M. Mostert. (Studies in the Early Middle Ages.) Turhout: Brepols.

Namenwelten. Ed. S. Brink, L. Elmevik & A. van Nahl. (Ergänzungsband zum Reallexikon der germanische Altertumskunde), Berlin & New York: de Gruyter 2004.

“Mytologiska rum och eskatologiska föreställningar i det vikingatida Norden”. Ordning mot kaos. Studier av nordisk förkristen kosmologi. Ed. A. Andrén et al.  (Vägar till Midgård 4.) Lund: Nordic Academic Press.

“Some New Perspectives on the Christianization of Scandinavia and the Organisation of the Early Church”. Scandinavia and Europe. Ed. K. Holman & E. Adams. (Texts and Cultures in Northern Europe 4.) Turnhout: Brepols.

 “Legal Assembly Sites in Early Scandinavia”. Assembly places and practices in medieval Europe, ed. Aliki Pantos & Sarah Semple. Dublin: Four Courts Press 2004.

 “Verba Volant, Scripta Manent? Aspects of the Oral Society in Scandinavia”.  Literacy in medieval and Early Modern Scandinavian culture, ed. P. Hermann.  (Viking Collection 16.) Odense 2005.

 “Some aspects on the Christianization in Sweden and early Church organization”. Church Centres. Church Centres in Iceland from the 11th to the 13th Century and  their Parallells in other Countries, ed. H. Thorláksson. (Snorrastofa. Rit 2.) Reykjavík.

 “The Voyages of Othere and Wulfstan. A cultural historical and socio-political background”. Ohthere's voyages : a late 9th-century account of voyages along the coasts of Norway and Denmark and its cultural context, ed. Janet Bately and Anton  Eglert. (Maritime Culture of the North 1.) Roskilde 2007.

 “Skíringssalr, Kaupang, Tjølling – the Toponymic Evidence”. Kaupang in Skiringssal. Ed. Dagfinn Skre. (Norske Oldfunn 22.) Århus: Århus University Press  2007.

 “How uniform was the Old Norse religion? ”, Old Norse world. Essays in Honour of Margaret Clunies Ross, ed. J. Quinn et al. (Medieval texts and cultures in northern Europe 18), Turnhout: Brepols 2007.

 “The Kingdom of Sweden” (together with Nils Blomkvist and Thomas Lindkvist), Christianization and the Rise of Christian Monarchy. Scandinavia, Central Europe  and Rus' c. 900-1200, ed. N. Berend, Cambridge: CUP 2007.

Landskap och plats som mentala konstruktioner”, Facets of Archaeology. Essays in Honour of Lotte Hedeager on her 60th Birthday (Oslo Archaeological Series vol. 10), Oslo: Unipub 2008.

 “People and land in early Scandinavia”, Franks, Northmen, and Slavs: Identities and State Formation in Early Medieval Europe, ed. P. Geary et al. (Cursor Mundi 5) (Brepols 2008).

Lord and Lady – Bryti and Deigja. Some Historical and Etymological Aspects on Family, Patronage and Slavery in Early Scandinavia and Anglo-Saxon England. (The Dorothea Coke Memorial Lecture in Northern Studies 2005.) London: Viking Society 2008.

The Viking World, ed. Stefan Brink (in collaboration with Neil Price), (Routledge World Series), London & New York: Routledge 2008.

 “Place Names in Scandinavia”, The Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages. Ed. Robert E. Bjork. Oxford: OUP 2010.

 “Early Ecclesiastical Organization of Scandinavia, especially Sweden”, in England and the Continent in the Tenth Century: Studies in Honour of Wilhelm Levison (1876-1947), edited by David Rollason, Conrad Leyser, and Hannah Williams (Studies in the Early Middle Ages37), Turnhout: Brepols 2010.

Hälsingelagens ställning mellan väst och syd, och mellan kung, kyrka och lokala traditioner”, Kungl. Vitterhets Historie och Antikvitets Akademiens Årsbok 2010.

 “Oral Fragments in The Earliest Old-Swedish Laws?”, in Medieval Legal Process: Physical, Spoken and Written Performance in the Middle Ages, ed. by Marco Mostert & Paul S. Barnwell (Utrecht Studies in Medieval Literacy 19), Turnhout: Brepols 2011.163. “

 “Gudhem – the toponymic evidence (or rather challenge)”, The Gudme/Gudhem Phenomenon. Papers presented at a workshop organized by the Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology (ZBSA), Schleswig, April 26th and 27th, 2010, ed. by Oliver Grimm & Alexandra Pesch (Schriften des Archäologischen Landesmuseums Ergänzungsreihe Band 6), Neumünster: Wachholtz 2011.

Stefan Brink, Review of: David Wyatt, “Slaves and Warriors in Medieval Britain and Ireland, 800–1200” (Leiden & Boston: Brill 2009), in Early Medieval Europe 19(3) 2011. RecWyatt.pdf

 “Mediality and Usage of Medieval Laws: the Case of the Hälsinge Law”, Liber Amicorum Ditlev Tamm. Law, History and Culture, ed. by P. Andersen et al.,Copenhagen: Djöf Publ. 2011. [Note: Mistake in title of the proof - medical for medieval!]

Vikingarnas slavar ['Viking Slavery'; book]. Atlantis förlag: Stockholm (2012). Paperback in 2018.

“De nordiska språkens påverkan på ortnamnsskicket i Storbritannien”, in Svenskans beskrivning 32. Förhandlingar vid trettioandra sammankomsten för svenskans beskrivning, ed. by B. Bihl et al. (University of Karlstad: Karlstad 2013), pp. 38-51.

 “The Creation of a Scandinavian Provincial Law: How was it done?”, Historical Research vol. 86 (nr 233) (2013): 432-42.

Sacred Sites and Holy Places. Exploring the Sacralization of Landscape Through Time and Space, ed. by S. Walaker Nordeide and S. Brink (Studies in Early Middle Ages 11) (Brepols 2013).

Myth and Ritual in Pre-Christian Scandinavian Landscape”, in Sacred Sites and Holy Places. Exploring the Sacralization of Landscape Through Time and Space,ed. by S. Walaker Nordeide and S. Brink (Studies in Early Middle Ages 11) (Brepols 2013), pp. 33-51.

Early Ecclesiastical Organization of Scandinavia, especially Sweden”, in  Medieval Christianity in the North. New Studies, ed. by K. Salonen, K. Villads Jensen and T. Jørgensen (Acta Scandinavica 1) (Brepols 2013), pp. 23-39.

Die Christianisierung Skandinaviens”, in Credo. Christianisierung Europas in Mittelalter, vol. 1. Ed. by Ch. Stiegemann, M. Kroker & W. Walter (Petersberg: Imhof 2013), pp. 250-60.

New Approaches to Early Law in Scandinavia, ed. by Stefan Brink and Lisa Collinson (Acta Scandinavica 3) (Brepols 2014).

The Hälsinge Law between South and West, King and Church, and Local Customs”, in New Approaches to Early Law in Scandinavia, ed. by Stefan Brink and Lisa Collinson (Acta Scandinavia 3) (Brepols 2014), pp. 37-56.

Minnunga mæn – The Usage of Old Knowledgeable Men in Legal Cases”, in Minni and MuninnMemory in Medieval Nordic Culture, ed. by Hermann, Mitchell and Arnorsdottir (Acta Scandinavica 4)(Brepols 2014), pp. 197-210.

“Reading Cult and Mythology in Society and Landscape: The Toponymic Evidence”, in Nordic Mythologies: interpretations, intersections, and institutions, ed. T. Tangherlini (Berkeley: North Pinehurst Press 2014), pp. 157-72.

Librum legum terre Hælisingie : the inspection and approval of versions of the law-book of the Hälsingar”, in The power of the book : medial approaches to medieval Nordic legal manuscripts, ed. L. Rohrbach (Berliner Beiträge zur Skandinavistik 19) (Berlin: Humbolt Universität 2014), pp. 157-62.

“The Origins of the Swedish Medieval Laws – a State of the Art, from my Perspective”, in How Nordic are the Nordic Medieval Laws? – Ten Years After, ed. by P. Andersen et al. (Copenhagen: Djøf Publ. 2014), pp. 129-44.

“Early Law in the North”, Questio Insularis 16 (Cambridge 2015): 1-15.

Transferred Names and Analogy in Name-formation”, in The Oxford Handbook of Names and Naming, ed. C. Hough (Oxford UP 2016), pp. 158-66.

Trading Hubs or Political Centres of Power? Maritime Focal Sites in Early Sweden”, in Maritime Societies of the Viking and Medieval World, ed. J. Barrett & S. J. Gibbon (The Society for medieval Archaeology. Monograph 37) (Leeds: Maney 2015), pp. 88-98.

“Gesellschaft und Kultur”, in Wikinger!, ed. M. Helmbrecht (Rosenheim: Koehler im Maximilian Verlag GmbH & Co 2016), pp. 78-89.

Stefan Brink (Aberdeen), and John Lindow (Berkeley), ‘Place Names in Eddic Poetry’, in A Handbook in Eddic Poetry. Myths and Legends of Early Scandinavia, ed. C. Larrington et al. (Cambridge University Press 2015) (pp. 173-89)

Avaldsnes, Kormt and Rogaland. A Toponymy and Landscape Survey”, in Avaldsnes  A Sea-King’s Manor in First-Millennium Western Scandinavia, ed. by Dagfinn Skre (Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde. Ergänzungsband 1049 (Berlin & New York: de Gruyter, 2017), pp. 665-86.

Law, Society and Landscape in Early Scandinavia”, in Comparative Law and Anthropology, ed. by James A. R. Nafziger (Research Handbooks in Comparative Law Series) (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2017), pp. 319-37.

“Nationernas och regionernas återkomst”, in Stad och land, ed. by Kurt Almqvist (Stockholm: Axel och Margaret Ax:son Johnsons stiftelse, 2017), pp. 47-53.

Theorizing Old Norse Myth, eds S. Brink and L. Collinson (Acta Scandinavica 7), Turnhout: Brepols 2017.

“Uppsala – in Myth and Reality”, in Theorizing Old Norse Myth, eds S. Brink and L. Collinson (Acta Scandinavica 7), Turnhout: Brepols 2017, pp. 175–94.

“Viking Scandinavians back home and abroad in Europe : and the special case of Björn and Hásteinn”, in Mil Anos da Incursao. Normanda ao Castelo de Vermoim, ed. by Mário Jorge Barroca and Armando Coelho Ferreira da Silva, Porto: CITCEM – Centro de Investigação Transdisciplinar Cultura, Espaço e Memória 2018, pp. 13–26.

“Memory in Law” and “Onomastics”, in Handbook of Pre-Modern Nordic Memory Studies. Interdisciplinary Approaches, ed. by J. Glauser, P. Hermann & S. Mitchell, Berlin: de Gruyter, 2018, pp. 153-65; 565-74. [both articles, as pdfs, can be requested from author via email]

“Gekauft, geraubt, verdingt. Spurensuche zum Sklaventum”, in Die Wikinger. Entdecker und Eroberer, ed. by Jörn Staecker and Matthias Toplak, Berlin: Propyläen 2019, pp. 161-72.

“K(i)æfsir in the Old Västgöta and Östgöta Laws”, in Tidens landskap. En vänbok till Anders Andrén, ed. by C. Ljung et al., Lund: Nordic Academic Press, 2019, pp. 137–38.

“Laws and Assemblies”, in Pre-Christian Religions of the North. History and Structures, vol. 2: Contexts and Communication between Worlds, ed. by A. Andrén, J. Lindow & J. P. Schjødt, Turnhout: Brepols 2020, pp. 445–477.

“What was a cooking-pit called in the Iron Age?, in Re-imagining Periphery: Archaeology and Text in Northern Europe from Iron Age to Viking and Early Medieval Periods, ed. by Charlotta Hillerdal and Kristin Ilves, Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2020, pp. 103–106.

“Slavery in Medieval Scandinavia: Some Points of Departure”, in Viking-Age Trade. Silver, Slaves and Gotland. ed. by J. Gruszczynski. M. Jankowiak and J. Shepard (Routledge Archaeologies of the Viking World), London & New York: Routledge, 2021, pp. 40–56.

“OGu vergildi and Välde in Etelheim, Gotland”, in Myth, Magic, and Memory in Early Scandinavian Narrative Culture. Studies in Honour of Stephen A. Mitchell (Acta Scandinavica 11), Turnhout: Brepols, 2021, pp.  339–350.

“Slaves in Early Scandinavian Society. Matters of Discussion and Issues of Controvercy”, in Viking-Age Slavery, ed. by M. Toplak, H. Østhus and R. Simek (Studia Medievalia Septentrionalia 29), Wien: Fassbaender, 2021, pp. 75–97.

Thraldom. A History of Slavery in the Viking Age, New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021.

 "A 'Grammar of Asymmetrical Dependency' for Early Scandinavia (to c. 1350)", in Naming, Defining, Phrasing Strong Asymmetrical Dependencies, eds Jeannine Bischoff Stephan Conermann and Marion Gymnich (Dependency and Slavery Studies 8), Berlin & New York: de Gruyter 2023, pp. 14-54.