Else Roesdahl 60 år


  • David M. Wilson


Else Roesdahl


Else Roesdahl reaches 60

l first met Else Roesdahl in 1969, when, newly graduated, she was working as an assistant in the National Museum. This was the foun­dation of a friendship which spans her professional career.

Else was born on Als and her sense of history and her fierce in dependence is based in the background of her family, which was deeply involved in the politics of Sønderjylland after 1864. Although she studied in Copenhagen, she returned to Jutl and with her husband, Erich Lange, in 1970, and soon became firmly established in Aarhus University.

As a student (and later as a postgraduate) she took par t in P.V. Glob’s Bahrain expedi­tions .The three seasons she spent there deep­ly influenced her development as an archae­ologist and scholar. The dig excited her sense of adventure and stimulated her to travel in India, Afghanistan, Iran and Egypt, develop­ing an interest in pottery and glass originally in stilled by her father, a learned collector. At home she took part in many other excavations. She is, for example, proud of the fact that at Skuldelev she found the beautiful stem of Wreck 3.

Concentrating on the Viking Age she became, through such outlets as the Viking Congress, party to an innovative critical interdisciplin ary approach to the period. Nowhere is this better expressed than in the annual and successful tværfaglige Vikingesymposium, of which she is one of the most influential organisers, or in the foundation of the Aarhus Centre for Viking and Medieval Studies. She excavated with Olaf Olsen at all the Trelleborg fortresses, and in 1970 joined him in the newly- founded department of medieval archaeology at Moesgård. Succeeding as head of department in 1981, she was promoted professor in 1996.

Although engaged with the whole of the Middle Ages, her first enthusiasm was for the Viking Age. With Olaf Olsen and Holger Schmidt, she published the Fyrkat excava­tions in 1977, and it is a tribute to the academic integrity of both Olaf and Else that, though differing in their conclusions, they did not fall out – disproving the adage, ‘archaeology is not a discipline, it’s a vendetta’.

Much in demand internationally, she was deeply in volved in the organisation of the Vikings in England exhibition in 1981-2, and was the coordinator of the magnificent exhibition Viking og Hvidechrist in 1992-3. The catalogue which she edited for this exhibition, together with her books Danmarks Vikingetid and Vikingernes Verden, are now central to any stud y of the Viking Age and have been translated into many languages. She has edited many other books, most recently Dagligliv i Danmarks middelalder, and,with Mogens Bencard, wrote the pionering Dansk middel­alderlertøj.

She has many honours – among them the Dannebrog, a LittD from Dublin, a special professorship at Nottingham, and corresponding fellowships of learned bodies in Germany and England – but it is her friendship, scholarship and wit that we celebrate on her sixtieth birthday.

David M .Wilson
Castletown Isle of Man

Oversat til dansk af Annette Lerche Trolle





Wilson, D. M. (2002). Else Roesdahl 60 år. Kuml, 51(51), 13–15. Hentet fra https://tidsskrift.dk/kuml/article/view/102990