Hopp til hovedinnhold

Odin's Seminar - No boundaries

The Thor Heyerdahl Institute, Midgard Viking Centre and The Vestfold Museums invites you to a seminar about Valkyries, the use of DNA in historical and archaeological research, and links between the East and the Nordic countries during the Viking Age.

This international seminar will explore cross-cultural research, interdisciplinary research, and experimental archaeological approaches to the topics.

Our goal is to act, to contribute and to learn across borders.

The seminar is not about if Thor Heyerdahl was right or wrong when it came to his final projects in Azov, Russia  – the search for Odin.

This international seminar will explore and draw cross-cultural opinions.

Audience and Organisers

The seminar is organised by the Thor Heyerdahl Institute in association with Midgard Viking Centre and The Vestfold Museums. 

The seminar is relevant for those engaged in and curious about: 

  • Viking age history and Norse Mythology 
  • Experimental archaeology, on the role of methods
  • Connective links between the Vikings and the East
  • Expedition: Miklagard 2023, Miklagard 2023, Vikingship from Tønsberg, Norway to Istanbul/ Miklagard, Türkiye 
  • Continuing to develop Thor Heyerdahl`s cultural legacy

The Speakers

The Odin seminars – No boundaries, is an English-language lecture series. The seminars will promote knowledge about further developing Heyerdahl's cultural heritage. They will emphasize on his strong will to challenge debate and being a bridge builder.

All the speakers are leading authorities within their subject area. Both practitioners and academics will contribute. 

The presented papers will be made available to participants after the conference at www.vestfoldmuseene.no

Time and Place

The seminar will be a one day event on

Wednesday 15. March, 2023 from 4pm – 7 pm.

The seminar will take place at Midgard Viking Centre in Borre, close to the town of Horten in Vestfold–  and Telemark county.

Here you can find the beautiful Borre park, with approximately 50 grave mounds, remnants of three feasting halls and two viking ship graves.

Midgard viking center offers exhibitions, experiences and a Viking feast hall, built as a translation of the archaeological evidence at Borre. We invite visitors to stay in Borre before the conference and explore the sights.

Borre is easily accessible by train from Oslo to Skoppum (Horten), approximately one hour by train or bus.

  • 1/1


Note the date for this international seminar and please join us in Borre or attend on a streaming event.

Scan the QR code for streaming:

Questions about the seminar:

Contact The Vestfold Museums by:

vicky.mikalsen@vestfoldmuseene.no, about Viking or beate.bjorge@vestfoldmuseene.no about Thor Heyerdahl's legacy.

Follow the seminar live on Facebook streaming:


  • 16.00 – 16.30: Welcome by conferencier Vicky Katarina Mikalsen, Project Manager,  The Vestfold Museums
    • Opening remarks by Director Lene Walle, The Vestfold Museums
    • Opening remarks by H.E. Zaur Ahmadov, Ambassador the Republic of Azerbaijan
    • Video Message from H.E. Fazlı Çorman, Former Ambassador the  Republic of Türkiye
    • Opening remarks H.E. Adil Tursunov, Ambassador the Republic of Kazakhstan
  • 16.30 – 17.00: Traces of Thor Heyerdahl’s search for Odin in Azerbaijan: Project, Conference & Book. By Dr. Vibeke Roggen
  • 17.00 – 17.30: Judges and Deciders of Fate: The Role of the Valkyrie in Old Norse Society. By Dr. Jóhanna Katrín Friðriksdóttir
  • 17.30 – 17.40: Short break
  • 17.40 – 17.45: Video Message from PhD Guivami Rahimli, Professor at Baku State University, Azerbaijan
  • 17.45 – 18.15: Title to be announced, by Professor Emma Usmanova
  • 18.15 – 18.45: Title to be announced, by Professor Erika Hagelberg
  • 18.45 – 19.00: From Midgard to Miklagard Expedition 2023 – a presentation
  • 1/5
    Vicky Mikalsen
  • 2/5
    Lene Walle
  • 3/5
    H.E. Zaur Ahmadov
  • 4/5
    H.E. Fazlı Çorman
  • 5/5
    H.E. Adil Tursunov

Dr. Vibeke Roggen

Associate Professor (Emerita) - Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas, The University of Oslo

Dr. Vibeke Roggen is an Associate Professor at the University of Oslo, specialising in philology, Latin translations, and the work of the priest Niels Thomessøn.

She has also worked on the reception of Latin in Norway, with a particular focus on texts composed prior to 1650. In 2005, she was admitted to the Academia Latinitati Fovendae.

In 2015 she worked on a new uncensored Norwegian - Latin dictionary, which included words for sexual acts which had been previously censored on a religious basis.

Roggen has several publications which investigates Thor Heyerdahl’s linguistic theories about Odin and the Old Norse god’s assumed links to Azerbaijan.

Dr. Jóhanna Katrín Friðriksdóttir

Author and researcher at the National Library of Norway

Friðriksdóttir studied at universities in Reykjavík, Iceland, and Brighton before completing her doctorate in medieval literature at the University of Oxford in 2010. 

 Friðriksdóttir then went on to receive research fellowships at the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies in Reykjavík and at Harvard University from 2010 to 2016. She was a lecturer at Yale University from 2017 to 2019 but is now working at the National Library of Norway. 

Friðriksdóttir has published several articles, an edited volume and two books about mediaeval literature and manuscripts, and her most recent publication is “Valkyrie: The Women of the Viking World”, published by Bloomsbury in 2020. Currently Friðriksdóttir is working on several projects, including a new edition of mediaeval law.

Professor Emma Usmanova

Professor Emma Usmanova Archaeologist and Researcher at the Karaganda State University, Saryarka Archaeological Institute, Kazakhstan.

Usmanova is an archaeologist who works mainly with pre-historic times and funerary archaeology. She has published over 14 books and is known for her work with Eurasian burial rites, the history of horse riding, and symbolism in pre-historic graves and contemporary Nomad traditional culture in Central Asia. 

Usmanova has advised in several TV documentaries and is also an organiser of the annual Thor Heyerdahl Festival of ancient technologies and cultural communications in Kazakhstan.

Professor Erika Hagelberg

Professor Erika Hagelberg - Department of Bioscience The University of Oslo.

Profesor Erika Hagelberg is a British evolutionary geneticist and Professor of Biosciences at the University of Oslo. Hagelbergs early work was on the development of methods to extract and analyse DNA from archaeological bones. 

 Hagelberg worked on the earliest applications of bone DNA typing in forensic identification, including the first use of microsatellite DNA in forensics. Hagelberg has worked at several universities during her career, such as the University of London, University of Cambridge, and the University of Otago, before joining the University of Oslo in 2002. 

Hagelberg has, together with Professor Johann Rasmus Brandt (UiO), completed an interdisciplinary research project, funded by the Research Council of Norway “Thanatos: dead bodies - live data. A study of funerary data from the Hellenistic-Roman-Byzantine town Hierapolis in Phrygia, Türkiye”. Hagelberg has also been participating in the research project “Race and ethnicity and the science of human genetic variation 1945-2012", funded by the Norwegian Research Council’s SAMKUL-program.


  • The Viking Age Feast Hall, Gildehallen. Photo: Hanne Bergby-Olsen.

The Viking Age Feast Hall, Gildehallen was built in 2013, and is an active project to recreate the Viking Age so that visitors can feel that they have traveled back in time.

When you visit the Gildehall, you will always be greeted by a Viking who can tell you about what life would have been like in one of these impressive halls.


  • Snorre Sturluson illustration by Christian Krogh from Heimskringla, 1899 edition
    Snorre Sturluson illustration by Christian Krogh from Heimskringla, 1899 edition.

Ynglingasaga is a part of the compilation of sagas about the Norwegian kings by the medieval historian Snorre Sturluson (1178-1241). The saga traces the lineage of the Norwegian kings back to the Viking gods Odin and Frey, who is also called Yngve. Therefore, the descendants are called Ynglings. 

In the saga the gods originate in Asia, but eventually migrate and settle in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. Snorre mentions that at least two kings are buried in mounds at Borre. Until the mid-19th century, historians put great trust in the factual truth of Snorri's narrative, as well as other Old Norse sagas. In the early 20th century, this trust was largely abandoned with the advent of saga criticism. 

 Historians has come to believe that the motives Snorri give to their characters owe more to political circumstances in the 13th century than in earlier times which it describes.

Thor Heyerdahl

  • Bilde av Thor Heyerdahl i lyseblå kortermet skjorte. Han smiler og ser mot venstre.

Thor Heyerdahl attempted an interdisciplinary research project in the late 1990s where he explored the story of Odin in Ynglingasaga. His attempt was firmly rejected by leading Viking Age scholars and stirred a fierce debate. However, Heyerdahl was given credit for starting a constructive dialogue with researchers from the eastern countries. 

 By cooperating across disciplines and borders, we may gain entry to sources and material that for a number of reasons have been inaccessible to us which can shed light on the Viking Age as seen from the East. It is in this respect that the Odin Seminars wishes to contribute.

Memory of the world

  • Thor Heyerdahl standing next to his statue in Larvik, Norway
    Thor Heyerdahl standing next to his statue in Larvik, Norway. Photo: The Vestfold Museums.

The Thor Heyerdahl Archives were added to UNESCO’s “Memory of the World” Register, 2011. 

In 2011, Thor Heyerdahl’s archives became one of Norway’s contributions for UNESCOs documentary heritage Memory of the world. Through his expeditions and research Thor Heyerdahl investigated how different cultures have influenced another through history. 

Currently, this list includes 238 collections from all over the world. The Heyerdahl Archives span the years 1937 to 2002 and include his photographic collection, diaries, private letters, expedition plans, articles, newspaper clippings, original book and article manuscript. The Heyerdahl Archives are administreted by the Kon-Tiki Museum and the National Library of Norway in Oslo. 

Thor Heyerdahl was, and still is, one of the most famous Norwegians known outside of Norway. Born on October 6, 1914 in Larvik, Norway, he died on April 18, 2022 in Cola Micheri, Italy. It was the Kon-Tiki Expedition from Peru to Polynesia in 1947 that brought Thor Heyerdahl international fame. In the course of 101 days, he and five other men drifted across approximantely 8 000 kilometres of the Pacific Ocean. 

The documentary film about the voyage was awarded an Oscar in 1951 and the book about the expedition was translated into approximately 66 different languages.

  • Thor Heyerdahl and Knut Haugland in Colla Micheri, Italy. Ready to begin transporting books to the Kon-Tiki Museum, Norway. Photo: The Kon-Tiki Museum.
    Thor Heyerdahl and Knut M. Haugland in Colla Micheri, Italy. Ready to begin transporting books to the Kon-Tiki Museum, Norway. Photo: The Kon-Tiki Museum.