There have been many studies of the Scandinavians in Britain, but this is the first collection of essays to be devoted solely to their engagement with Wessex. New work on the early Middle Ages, not least the excavations of mass graves associated with the Viking Age in Dorset and Oxford, drew attention to the gaps in our understanding of the wider impact of Scandinavians in areas of Britain not traditionally associated with them. Here, a multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary approach to the problems of their study is presented. While there may not have been the same degree of impact, discernable particularly in place-names and archaeology, as in those areas of Britain which had substantial influxes of Scandinavian settlers, Wessex was a major theatre of the Viking wars in the reigns of Alfred and AEthelred Unraed. Two major topics, the Viking wars and the Danish landowning elite, figure strongly in this collection but are shown not to be the sole reasons for the presence of Danes, or items associated with them, in Wessex. Multi-disciplinary approaches evoke Vikings and Danes not just through the written record, but through their impact on real and imaginary landscapes and via the objects they owned or produced. The papers raise wider questions too, such as when did aggressive Vikings morph into more acceptable Danes, and what issues of identity were there for natives and incomers in a province whose founders were believed to have also come from North Sea areas, if not from parts of Denmark itself? Readers can continue for themselves aspects of these broader debates that will be stimulated by this fascinating and significant series of studies by both established scholars and new researchers.
Ryan Lavelle is a senior lecturer in medieval history at the University of Winchester where he teaches on Anglo-Saxon England, the Normans and the Norman Conquest, and the Carolingian Renaissance. His specialises in Late Anglo-Saxon political history, including royal landholding, especially in Wessex, and early medieval warfare. Simon Roffey is a Reader in medieval history at the University of Winchester with research interests in the archaeology of the early and later medieval periods, the archaeology of Winchester, church and building archaeology and the influence of the medieval period on creative writing and popular culture, including novels, films, games and art forms.
List of Illustrations List of Authors List of Abbreviations Editorial Preface Foreword, by Barbara Yorke 1. Introduction: Danes in Wessex Ryan Lavelle and Simon Roffey 2. West Saxons and Danes: Negotiating Identities in the Early Middle Ages Simon Roffey and Ryan Lavelle 3. The Place of Slaughter: Exploring the West Saxon Battlescape Thomas J. T. Williams 4. A Review of Viking Attacks in Western England to the Early Tenth Century: Their Motives and Responses Derek Gore 5. Landscapes of Violence in Early Medieval Wessex: Towards a Reassessment of Anglo-Saxon Strategic Landscapes John Baker and Stuart Brookes 6. Scandinavian-style Metalwork from Southern England: New Light on the`First Viking Age' in Wessex Jane Kershaw 7. Death on the Dorset Ridgeway: the Discovery and Excavation of an Early Medieval Mass Burial Angela Boyle 8. Law, Death and Peacemaking in the`Second Viking Age': an Ealdorman, his King, and Some `Danes' in Wessex Ryan Lavelle 9. Thorkell the Tall and the Bubble Reputation: the Vicissitudes of Fame Ann Williams 10. A Place in the Country: Orc of Abbotsbury and Tole of Tolpuddle, Dorset Ann Williams 11. Danish Landowners in Wessex in 1066 C. P. Lewis 12. Danish Royal Burials in Winchester: Cnut and his Family Martin Biddle andBirthe Kjolbye-Biddle 13. Some Observations on Danes in Wessex Today Lillian Cespedes Gonzalez Select Bibliography Index