The research and public outreach project Urban Encounters – Mobility, Migration and Networks in Premodern Scandinavia explores new perspectives of research into premodern urbanism in northern Europe (1000-1700 AD). Urban Encounters is funded by the Velux Foundation and is a collaborative project between Museum of Copenhagen, Odense City Museums, The Nya Lödöse project in Gothenburg (The National Historical Museums (SHMM) and their collaborators Bohusläns Museum, Museum of Gothenburg and RIO Gothenburg) and Centre for Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet) at Aarhus University. The project runs over a period of 4 years starting 1 January 2016.
Urban Encounters investigates the establishment and development of towns trough the vast material brought to light in the large excavations conducted in Odense, Copenhagen and Nya Lödöse in the recent years. The size of the projects and the new scientific methods used during the excavations provide a unique opportunity for comparative and contextualised analysis of the premodern urbanisation. Through a broad understanding of the concepts “migration”, “mobility” and “networks”, Urban Encounters aims to explore ways of studying urbanism through tracing different types of actors, meetings, practices and networks in the material culture and seeing how these affected the urban places.
The multitude of encounters taking place in the towns is part of what makes towns and town life different from life in other places. To see the town as an instrument or catalyst for meetings between people gives a perspective which puts people, their motivations and experiences in focus. This is an aspect of the study of premodern urbanism which holds great potential but is in need of further attention.
The following research questions are central to the project:
The first three questions relate to the extensive archeological material from the three excavations, while the fourth puts the results into perspective according to recent research on migration and identity.