University of Mississippi

Dr. Nancy Wicker

Professor of Art History
Medieval Art History and Archaeology

MA, PhD, University of Minnesota
BA, Eastern Illinois University



Wicker’s interdisciplinary research focuses on the reception of Roman art in Scandinavia during the Early Medieval Period. She is interested in how Late Roman medallions inspired stamped gold pendants known as bracteates, which were worn by elite women across northern Europe. She has participated in the Getty Foundation Seminar, “The Arts of Rome’s Provinces” and collaborated with a contemporary goldsmith to reconstruct early medieval jewelry techniques. In addition to her research on bracteates, she has published on gender in archaeology, female infanticide during the Viking Age, Germanic animal-style art, and runic literacy. She has co-edited three books on gender and archaeology, including Situating Gender in European Archaeologies (Budapest: Archaeolingua, 2010). She has been co-director of a Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (HD-51640-13) to develop Project Andvari, which will provide online integrated access to dispersed digital collections of early medieval artifacts.

Recent and upcoming presentations

In September 2015, Wicker will present a peer-reviewed paper on “Saxon Identity Formation Examined through Material Culture” at the meeting of the Sachsensymposium in Leipzig, Germany, and in February 2015, she presented “Gold in Motion: Women and Jewelry from Early Medieval Scandinavia” in a session sponsored by the International Center for Medieval Art at the meeting of the College Art Association in New York City. She also read an invited paper in a symposium on Late Medieval/Early Medieval Material Culture at the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere at the University of Florida..

In 2014, Wicker presented an invited paper in the Runic Colloquium at Harvard University and read a peer-reviewed paper at the Yale Baltic and Scandinavian Studies Conference, where she also co-organized a conference stream on “Art as History, Art as Identity: Interdisciplinary Investigations in Visual Culture.”

Also in 2014, Wicker was invited to participate in the on-going project “Reading and Interpreting Runic Inscriptions: The Theory and Method of Runology” at the Centre for Advanced Studies of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in Oslo, Norway. She was in residence at the Centre in April 2014, when she also presented a paper at the 27th Annual meeting of Field Runologists. In September 2014, Wicker delivered a peer-reviewed paper at the conference on “Reading Runes,” the Eighth International Symposium on Runes and Runic Inscriptions, held in Nyköping, Sweden.

Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Wicker and Lilla Kopár convened an international workshop in Washington, D.C., in November 2014, for researchers, museum professionals, and technology experts to define controlled vocabularies for Project Andvari, which will provide integrated online access to collections of early medieval northern European artifacts.

Wicker’s recent publications

“Context Analysis and Bracteate Inscriptions in the Light of Alternatives to Hauck’s Iconographic Interpretations,” Futhark: International Journal of Runic Studies 5, 2014 (2015): 25–43.

“Inspiring the Barbarians? The Transformation from Roman Medallions to Scandinavian Bracteates,” pp. 105–120 in Rome Beyond the Imperial Frontiers: Imports, Attitudes, and Practices (Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplementary Series 94), edited by Peter S. Wells. Portsmouth RI: Journal of Roman Archaeology, 2013. ISSN 978-1-887829-94-6, ISBN 1-887829-94-6

“Bracteates and Runes,” with Henrik Williams, Futhark: International Journal of Runic Studies 3, 2012 (2013): 151–213. ISSN 1892-0950

“The Elusive Smith,” pp. 29–36 in Goldsmith Mysteries: Archaeological, Pictorial and Documentary Evidence from the 1st Millennium AD in Northern Europe (Schriften des Archäologischen Landesmuseums, Ergänzungsreihe 8), edited by Alexandra Pesch and Ruth Blankenfeldt. Neumünster: Wachholtz, 2012. ISBN 978 3 529 01878 7

“Nimble-fingered Maidens in Scandinavia: Women as Artists and Patrons,” pp. 865–902 in Reassessing Women’s Roles as ‘Makers’ of Medieval Art and Architecture, vol. 2, edited by Therèse Martin. Leiden: Brill, 2012. ISBN 978 90 04 18555 5 (print), ISBN 978 90 04 22832 0 (e-book)

“Christianization, Female Infanticide, and the Abundance of Female Burials at Viking Age Birka in Sweden,” Journal of the History of Sexuality 21:2 (2012): 245–262. ISSN 1043-4070

“‘The Four Smiths’ and the Replication of Bracteate Techniques,” pp. 33–44 in Det 61. Internationale Sachsensymposion 2010 in Haderslev, Danmark(Arkæologi i Slesvig/Archäologie in Schleswig, Sonderband) edited by Linda Boye et al., Neumünster: Wachholtz, 2011. ISSN 0909-0533, ISBN 978-98-98584-33-3 (Museum Sønderjylland), ISBN 978-3-529-01899-2 (Wachholtz Verlag)

“Would There Have Been Gothic Art without the Vikings? The Contribution of Scandinavian Medieval Art,” Medieval Encounters 17 (2011): 198–229. ISSN 1380-7654 (print), ISSN 1570-0674 (online). Reprinted as pp. 198–229 in Confronting the Borders of Medieval Art, edited by Jill Caskey, Adam S. Cohen, and Linda Safran. Leiden: Brill, 2011. ISBN 978 90 04 20749 3

Summary of honors, fellowships, and grants

Wicker has been a Visiting Professor at Uppsala University and is the first woman elected to foreign membership in the Philosophical-historical Section of the Royal Society of Humanities at Uppsala, Sweden. She also was named the first (and only) American chosen for membership in the Sachsensymposion, an international archaeological society.

Her research has been supported by fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Getty Foundation, the American-Scandinavian Foundation and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, as well as grants from the American Philosophical Society, the American Numismatic Society, and the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), and several Scandinavian sources.

Service to professional societies

Wicker is an Associate Editor of the journal Medieval Archaeology(London) and has served as President of the Society of Historians of Scandinavia. She currently serves on the Runic Advisory Group for the International Symposium on Runes and Runic Inscriptions and has served on the Executive Council of The Medieval Academy of America and on the boards of the International Center of Medieval Art and the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study.


Before coming to Oxford, Mississippi, as Chair of the Department of Art, Wicker was Director of the Scandinavian Studies Program and Professor of Art History at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She has participated in archaeological excavations in Germany and Sweden, including the Viking Age trading center of Birka. After completing an undergraduate double major in art history and three-dimensional art studio, she went to the University of Minnesota where she received her M.A. in art history and Ph.D. in interdisciplinary Ancient Studies, with an individualized program encompassing Scandinavia art history, archaeology, and philology


In the fall of 2015, Wicker is offering Early Medieval Art and Archaeology (AH 334/AH 534, cross-listed with Anth 332) as the medieval class that she teaches this semester. In the spring of 2016 she will offer Early Christian, Byzantine, and Islamic Art (AH 332).

Courses at The University of Mississippi: 
AH 101 Introduction to Art (not for art or art history majors)
AH 201 History of Art I (Honors)
AH 332 Early Christian, Byzantine, and Islamic Art
AH 334 Early Medieval Art and Archaeology (cross-listed with Anth 332)
AH 336 Viking Art and Archaeology (cross-listed with Anth 336)
AH 338 Romanesque and Gothic Art
AH 401 Research and Writing in Art
AH 408 Seminar in Art History
AH 508 Seminar in Art History (for graduate students)
AH 532 Early Christian, Byzantine, and Islamic Art (for graduate students)
AH 534 Early Medieval Art and Archaeology (for graduate students)
AH 536 Viking Art and Archaeology (for graduate students)
AH 538 Romanesque and Gothic Art (for graduate students)

Wicker’s curriculum vitae