Davide Zori is a medieval archaeologist with research concentrations in the Viking expansion into the North Atlantic and the Italian Middle Ages. He conducts archaeological fieldwork in Iceland addressing the interaction of the Norse settlers with new environments, the construction of a migrant society, and the subsequent evolution of endemic political systems. He also directs a project in central Italy that seeks to understand the phenomenon of castle-building that spread across central Italy in the 7th-10th centuries. He employs a multidisciplinary approach to the Middle Ages, combining material culture and written evidence. Dr. Zori joined the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core in 2014 and is affiliated faculty of the Department of History.
Areas of Expertise (6)
Viking Expansion into North America
Social Standing in the Viking Age
University of California, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology: Ph.D.
University of California, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology: M.A.
University of Florida: B.A., History and Anthropology
Media Appearances (6)
Colleen and Davide Zori
Baylor Connections online
AUDIO: Colleen and Davide Zori are Baylor faculty members and archaeologists uncovering history in Italy. Colleen Zori, Ph.D., serves as senior lecturer in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core in the Honors College and in the Department of Anthropology, and Davide Zori, Ph.D., serves as associate professor of history and archaeology in the BIC and Department of History. In this Baylor Connections, the Zoris take listeners inside their research through the San Giuliano Archaeological Research Project, which was featured on the Discovery channel Program “Expedition Unknown.”
Finding Italy's Lost Empire
Discovery Expedition Unknown tv
Research led by Baylor University faculty, Dr. Davide Zori, and students will be explored on the national stage as they share their findings from the San Giuliano Archaeological Research Project during a Season 10 episode of the popular primetime Discovery adventure series "Expedition Unknown," which premieres Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. CST on Discovery.
American solar storm pinpoints Viking settlement in Americas exactly 1,000 years ago
National Geographic online
Davide Zori, Ph.D., associate professor of history and archaeology is quoted in this article, remarking on the impacts an unusual solar storm 1,000 years ago will have on further discoveries concerning Viking settlements.
Scientists raid DNA to explore Vikings’ genetic roots
National Geographic online
Davide Zori, Ph.D., assistant professor of history and archaeology, shares thoughts on a study about Viking DNA, the genetic diversity behind their people and the historic and archeological evidence on the Viking culture.
The Italian Dig
Baylor Magazine online
Through an unexpected friendship initiated on the Vegas Strip more than a decade ago, faculty and students from Baylor are leading the San Giuliano Archaeological Research Project, a large-scale excavation of ancient Etruscan and medieval remains in central Italy.
Faculty Interview — Dr. Davide Zori
Baylor Interdisciplinary Core online
Dr. Davide Zori is an assistant professor in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core, teaching World Cultures I and II, Social World I, and medieval history courses in the history department. Dr. Zori also directs the San Giuliano Archaeological Research Project, which is part of the Baylor in Italy summer study abroad trip. We hope you enjoy learning more about one of our BIC faculty members.
Doctrinal and physical marginality in Christian death: the burial of unbaptized infants in medieval ItalyReligions
Madison Crow, Colleen Zori, Davide Zori
The burial of unbaptized fetuses and infants, as seen through texts and archaeology, exposes friction between the institutional Church and medieval Italy’s laity. The Church’s theology of Original Sin, baptism, and salvation left the youngest children especially vulnerable to dying unbaptized and subsequently being denied a Christian burial in consecrated grounds. We here present textual and archaeological evidence from medieval Italy regarding the tensions between canon law and parental concern for the eternal salvation of their infants’ souls. We begin with an analysis of medieval texts from Italy. These reveal that, in addition to utilizing orthodox measures of appealing for divine help through the saints, laypeople of the Middle Ages turned to folk religion and midwifery practices such as “life testing” of unresponsive infants using water or other liquids. Although emergency baptism was promoted by the Church, the laity may have occasionally violated canon law by performing emergency baptism on stillborn infants. Textual documents also record medieval people struggling with where to bury their deceased infants, as per their ambiguous baptismal status within the Church community. We then present archaeological evidence from medieval sites in central and northern Italy, confirming that familial concern for the inclusion of infants in Christian cemeteries sometimes clashed with ecclesiastical burial regulations. As a result, the remains of unbaptized fetuses and infants have been discovered in consecrated ground. The textual and archaeological records of fetal and infant burial in medieval Italy serve as a material legacy of how laypeople interpreted and sometimes contravened the Church’s marginalizing theology and efforts to regulate the baptism and burial of the very young.
Viking death: Pre-Christian rites of passage and funerary feastingThe Routledge Handbook of Death and the Afterlife
Davide M Zori
The Viking view of death was heterogeneous and often expressed in elaborate burial rituals that left large monuments and richly ordained graves accompanied by destruction of wealth, slaughtering of animals, and sometimes, human sacrifice. This chapter approaches Viking beliefs about death by looking at diverse funerary practices as depicted in medieval texts, iconography, and archaeological remains. The chapter examines these diverse rituals by progressing through three rites of passage – separation, transition, and incorporation – that transfer the dead from this life to the next. Progressing through each rite of passage, Viking ideals of hospitality, reciprocal exchange, and feasting provide the cultural logic that structures the diverse mortuary rituals apparent in both texts and archaeological remains. A key to understanding Viking death is the recognition that interactions between the dead and the living did not cease when the act of burial was complete. To explore these interactions with the dead, the chapter emphasizes a Viking preoccupation with the successful navigation of the state of liminality, wherein the deceased person exists between this life and the next.
The Norse in IcelandOxford Handbooks Online
2016 The Norse discovery and settlement of Iceland in the late ninth century AD offers a test case for the study of human impacts on previously unoccupied landscapes and the formation of new societies under challenging conditions. The Norse Viking Age settlement of the island serves as a cautionary tale about the anthropogenic destruction of fragile environments, while simultaneously providing lessons about the strategic management of marginal ecosystems and nuanced examples of societal evolution and secondary state formation. Archaeological investigation of these processes is complemented by oral traditions preserved in the Icelandic sagas. Although researchers debate the proper use of the sagas, the strength of recent research is its interdisciplinary nature, combining a suite of available tools of inquiry.