Cumann Seandalaiochta agus Staire Phort Lairge

Friday, April 29, 2022

The Best Seat in the House? Being At Home in the Viking Age by Dr Rebecca Boyd Friday 29th April

The Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society is holding the next lecture in our 2021 – 2022  programme at 8 pm on Friday, April 29th in St Patrick’s Gateway Centre, Waterford (Eircode X91  YX61) when archaeologist Dr Rebecca Boyd will deliver a talk titled ‘The Best Seat in the House?  Being At Home in the Viking Age’. 

Waterford is home to the Vikings, with dozens of Viking-Age houses excavated here. These are very  like houses from Cork and Dublin, but one particular detail stands out. Some houses in Waterford had  a special bench built in beside the hearth in the middle of the home. This hints at the presence of a ‘high  seat’, the most important place to sit in a  Viking house, a symbol of power and status.  Using the idea of a Viking ‘high seat’, we  will tour around the Viking world to see just  how such displays of power and status were  manifested in the Viking home.  

Interior of reconstructed Viking house (Dr. Rebecca Boyd).

Rebecca’s lecture will begin in Iceland with  Njal’s Saga, one of the most famous sagas of  all, where the house itself is a central  character. This house is a Viking longhouse,  and there are many examples of these across  Scandinavia and the North Atlantic. The  power of the family is manifested in the  house, in its size, its architecture, and its  obvious displays of power, connection and wealth. We will look at longhouses with ritual feasting, of  weapon displays, of imported precious glass, to see what story these houses tell. Then, we will return  to Waterford, to reflect on the story and power of our ‘Viking’ houses.


Dr Rebecca Boyd has worked in Irish archaeology for more than 20 years, in commercial, research and academic settings. Rebecca’s own research focuses  on the Viking world and she has written and spoken nationally and  

internationally on the archaeology of Ireland’s Viking Age. Her new book  Exploring Ireland’s Viking Age Towns: Houses and Homes will be  published later this year. It is the first detailed look at urbanism in  Ireland’s Viking Age and is the result of an Irish Research Council  Postdoctoral Fellowship based in the Dept of Archaeology in  

University College Cork. Rebecca currently works as Research  Archaeologist for IAC on the Drumclay Crannog project, one of  Ireland’s most exciting medieval settlements. 

*********************FORTHCOMING LECTURE********************** 

Here are details of the final talk in May: 

27/05/2022 Dr Ann Marie O’Brien ‘A century of change – women and Irish diplomacy’ 

*********************SUMMER OUTINGS**********************

The Society is working on a programme of Summer outings which will include: 16/06/2022 The People’s Park and environs with Joe Falvey 

14/07/2022 Historic Stradbally with Cian Flaherty 

07/08/2022 The Siege of Waterford 1922 with James Doherty 

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