Vikings: Raiders, Traders and Settlers (Online)

Course details

From £280.00
10 CATS points

Wed 25 Sep 2019 - Fri 06 Dec 2019

Other runs of this course

Vikings: Raiders, Traders and Settlers (Online)


Ravagers, despoilers, pagans, heathens - the Vikings are usually regarded as bloodthirsty seafaring pirates, whose impact on Europe was one of fear and terror. As they plundered the British Isles and the north Atlantic, these pagan invaders were seen by their Christian victims as a visitation from God. Yet these Vikings were also traders, settlers and farmers with a highly developed artistic culture and legal system. This course uses recent findings from archaeology to examine these varied aspects of the Viking world.

Their network of trade routes stretching from Greenland to Byzantium and their settlements, resulted in the creation of the Duchy of Normandy in France, the foundation of the Kingdom of Russia in Kiev and Novgorod as well as the development of Irish towns including Cork, Dublin and Limerick.

This course will use recent findings from archaeology together with documentary records, to examine these varied aspects of the Viking world and to give a detailed and balanced view of this fascinating period.

A wide variety of online resources including Google Maps and Google Earth as well as specific Viking web pages, are used in conjunction with text books and specially designed online interactive media to create an exciting insight into the world of the Vikings.

For information on how the courses work, and a link to our course demonstration site, please click here.

Programme details

  • Origins - Scandinavia in the pre-Viking period
  • Viking society and the beginnings of expansion
  • The Vikings in Europe - the early raids
  • The Vikings in Europe - conquest and settlement
  • Western expansion to Faeroes, Orkney, Shetland and Iceland
  • Trade routes to the east from the Baltic to Constantinople
  • Further west to Greenland and Vinland
  • Pagan religions and the change to Christianity
  • Viking art and literature
  • The end of the Viking period

We strongly recommend that you try to find a little time each week to engage in the online conversations (at times that are convenient to you) as the forums are an integral, and very rewarding, part of the course and the online learning experience.

Recommended reading

To participate in the course you will need to have regular access to the Internet and you will need to buy the following books:

  • Forte, O., Oram, R., & Pedersen, F., Viking Empires (Cambridge University Press, 2005) ISBN 0521829925
  • Hayward, J., The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings (Penguin Books, London, 1995) ISBN 0140513280


To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online. If you do not register when you enrol, you have up until the course start date to register and pay the £10 fee.

For more information on CATS point please click on the link below:

Coursework is an integral part of all online courses and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework, but only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.

Assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail.

All students who successfully complete this course, whether registered for credit or not, are eligible for a Certificate of Completion. Completion consists of submitting both course assignments and actively participating in the course forums. Certificates will be available, online, for those who qualify after the course finishes.

IT requirements

This course is delivered online; to participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.


EU Fee: £280.00
Non-EU Fee: £300.00
Take this course for CATS points: £10.00


Mr David Beard

David Beard is a freelance archaeologist and is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland specializing in medieval archaeology, especially the Anglo-Saxon and Viking periods. He has been involved in continuing education for many years having taught for the Universities of Oxford, London, Essex and Ulster.

Course aims

This course aims to:

  • Illustrate how archaeological evidence is recovered, processed and analysed and how this evidence can be used together with other sources of information to aid our understanding of the world of the Vikings.
  • Examine the main factors that led to the Viking expansion, the structure of society in the Viking homelands and the activities of the Vikings as raiders and pirates, traders and settlers consider current opinions on the nature of the impact of the Vikings on medieval Europe.
  • Consider current opinions on the nature of the impact of the Vikings on medieval Europe.

Course objectives

  •  Students will be able to evaluate archaeological evidence and use it together with other types of evidence to construct a detailed picture of the Viking period.
  •  Students will be able to to describe the main reasons for the Viking expansion and the major developments during the Viking period.
  • Students will be able to communicate their own ideas about the impact of the Vikings on medieval Europe and contribute to current debates about the Viking period.

Teaching methods

  • Introductory text from website with links to external sites
  • Guided reading from set text and case studies
  • Debate on a proposed topic (asynchronous discussion)
  • Occasional tutorial sheets

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students will be expected to understand:

  • The importance of archaeological evidence in understanding the Viking period.
  • The nature of pre-Viking Scandinavia and the main factors that caused the Viking expansion.
  • The social and political structure of Viking age Scandinavia.
  • The role of the Vikings in Europe and northern Atlantic and the pagan religions and the conversion to Christianity.
  • Current thinking on the nature of the Viking period.

By the end of this course students should be able to:

  • Evaluate and assess archaeological evidence.
  • Have an overall understanding of the events that led to the Viking expansion and the impact that the Vikings had on medieval Europe.
  • Communicate their own ideas on the nature and importance of the Viking period.

Assessment methods

Assessment for this course is based on two written assignments - one short assignment of 500 words due half way through the course and one longer assignment  of 1500 words due at the end of the course.

Assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail.


Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an application form.

Level and demands

FHEQ level 4, 10 weeks, approx 10 hours per week, therefore a total of about 100 study hours.