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THE WINTER CAMP OF THE VIKING GREAT ARMY, ad 872–3, TORKSEY, LINCOLNSHIRE

  • Dawn M Hadley (a1), Julian D Richards (a2) and with contributions by Hannah Brown, Elizabeth Craig-Atkins, Diana Mahoney-Swales, Gareth Perry, Samantha Stein and Andrew Woods
Abstract

This paper presents the results of a multidisciplinary project that has revealed the location, extent and character of the winter camp of the Viking Great Army at Torksey, Lincolnshire, of ad 872–3. The camp lay within a naturally defended area of higher ground, partially surrounded by marshes and bordered by the River Trent on its western side. It is considerably larger than the Viking camp of 873–4 previously excavated at Repton, Derbyshire, and lacks the earthwork defences identified there. Several thousand individuals overwintered in the camp, including warriors, craftworkers and merchants. An exceptionally large and rich metalwork assemblage was deposited during the Great Army’s overwintering, and metal processing and trading was undertaken. There is no evidence for a pre-existing Anglo-Saxon trading site here; the site appears to have been chosen for its strategic location and its access to resources. In the wake of the overwintering, Torksey developed as an important Anglo-Saxon borough with a major wheel-thrown pottery industry and multiple churches and cemeteries. The Torksey evidence allows for a radical reappraisal of the character of Viking winter camps, and the legacy of the Viking Great Army for Anglo-Saxon England.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

M Biddle and B Kjølbye-Biddle 1992. ‘Repton and the Vikings’, Antiquity, 66, 3651

D M Hadley and K Hemer 2011. ‘Microcosms of migration: children and early medieval population movement’, Childhood in the Past, 4, 6378

B Raffield 2013. ‘“A river of knives and swords”: ritually deposited weapons in English watercourses and wetlands during the Viking Age’, European J Archaeol, 17 (4), 634655

J D Richards , T Austin , J Bateman , S Bell , K Birchall , D Brothwell , E Campbell , J Carrott , K Dobney , J Garner-Lahire and G Gaunt 1999. ‘Cottam: an Anglian and Anglo-Scandinavian settlement on the Yorkshire Wolds’, Archaeol J, 156, 1111

P Stafford 1980. ‘The “farm of one night” and the organisation of King Edward’s estates in Domesday’, Econ Hist Rev, 33 (4), 491502

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The Antiquaries Journal
  • ISSN: 0003-5815
  • EISSN: 1758-5309
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquaries-journal
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