Viking Torksey


Torksey is widely known as a Viking winter camp from an entry in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for AD872. A growing body of archaeological evidence offers the potential of placing the site in its broader chronological and spatial context. Previous work has focussed on the pottery industry associated with an Anglo-Scandinavian town or burh. Recent metal detector finds have also suggested Torksey may be an Anglo-Saxon ‘productive site’, implying that Viking occupation must be seen in the context of pre-existing Saxon inhabitation. Torksey objects, copyright Fitzwilliam Museum‌‎‌‎ 

The aim of the project is to understand the role and significance of Torksey by plotting the chronological and spatial development of the various centres of activity, which have been tentatively identified through metal detecting.  These include a putative Anglo-Saxon riverine ‘beach market’, the Viking winter encampment and wider trading site, the Anglo-Scandinavian burh and the Torksey ware kilns. The project has major implications for wider understanding of the Viking Great Army and its interaction with local populations, the development of Anglo-Saxon burhs, and the evolving nature of trade and industry in the early medieval period, and its connections with power and ideology.

Funding has been provided by the British Academy, the Society of Antiquaries of London, and the Robert Kiln Trust.


Project Researchers

University of York

University of Sheffield

External Collaborators

  • Gareth Williams, British Museum
  • Andrew Woods, York Museums Trust
  • Hannah Brown, Geophysicist
  • Jane Young, freelance pottery specialist, Lincolnshire
  • Rachel Atherton, Derby Museum
  • Adam Daubney, PAS Finds Liaison Officer, Lincoln Museum


Interim reports

Torksey Test Pits 2011 (PDF  , 3,515kb): Reports on Five Test Pits Excavated in Torksey, Lincolnshire, 4th-8th July 2011, by Gareth Perry, with Jane Young and Samantha Stein

Viking at Torksey: a fieldwalking adventure of a first year archaeology student, by Julian D. Richards and Daria Wiercigroch, The Post Hole 27, February 2013

"Viking Torksey: Inside the Great Army's winter camp", by Dawn Hadley and Julian D. Richards, Current Archaeology 281 (2013), 12-19.


BBC History Weekend, York, 18 November 2016

  • J.D.Richards: "The Viking Great Army and the Making of England"

York Medieval Lecture, York, 3 May 2016

  • J.D.Richards: "The Viking Great Army in England: Torksey, treasure and towns"

SAA Archaeological Congress, Orlando, USA, 7 April 2016

  • D.M.Hadley: "Growing up on the move"

CBA East Midlands, Navenby, 19 March 2016

  • J.D.Richards: "The Viking Great Army at Torksey: the winter of AD 872-3"

Derbyshire Archaeological Society, 4 March 2016

  • J.D.Richards: "Torksey, Lincs - recent work in the winter camp of the Viking Great Army"

The Richard Hall Symposium 2016, Lost Landscapes 400-1100, York, 21 February 2016

  • G.Perry: "Fifty Shades of Clay: landscape and pottery production in the Trent Valley"

Vikings Beyond Boundaries conference, Oslo, 3 December, 2015

  • J.D.Richards & D.M.Hadley: "The Viking Winter Camps: What happened there?"

Scotland's History Festival, Edinburgh, 21 November 2015

  • J.D.Richards: "The Vikings: A Very Short Introduction"

Off the Shelf, University of Sheffield, 2 November 2015

  • D.M.Hadley: "Everyday life in Viking Age Towns"

International Medieval Congress, Leeds, 9 July 2015

  • A.Woods: "Interpreting the Coin Finds from the Viking Camp at Torksey"

Lichfield Archaeological Society, Lichfield, 1 May 2015

  • D.M.Hadley

Society for American Archaeology, 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, April 2015

  • D.M.Hadley: "Identity in a Viking winter camp"

Jorvik Viking Festival, The Helen Thirza Addyman Lecture, 17 February 2015

  • J.D.Richards: "The winter camp of the Viking Great Army, Torksey, Lincolnshire"

Royal Archaeological Institute, London, 11 February 2015

  • J.D.Richards and D.M.Hadley: "The Viking Great Army at Torksey"

Yorkshire Numismatic Society, York Coin Fair, The Grandstand, York Racecourse, 16 January 2015

  • Andy Woods - "Interpreting the silver finds from the Viking winter-camp at Torksey"

Stoke on Trent Archaeological Society, 12 December 2014

  • D.M.Hadley: "The Viking Winter Camp at Torksey, Lincs"

Society for Medieval Archaeology Annual lecture, Oxford, 5 December 2014

  • D.M.Hadley and J.D.Richards: "The Viking encampment of the winter of 872-3 at Torksey (Lincolnshire)"

Portable Antiquities Scheme Annual Conference, British Museum, 24 November 2014

  • J.D.Richards: "The Viking camp at Torksey, AD 872-3"

Lincoln Archaeological Society, 12 November 2014

  • D.M. Hadley

Harrogate Archaeological Society, 11 October 2014

  • J.D.Richards: "Camp followers of the Viking Great Army - Torksey, Lincolnshire"

Macclesfield Archaeological Society, 7 October 2014

  • G. Perry

Regia Anglorum annual conference, Islip, 7 September 2014

  • J.D. Richards: "The Viking Great Army and the winter camp at Torksey, AD 872-3"

Hay Festival, 24 May 2014

  • J.D.Richards: "The Viking Great Army and the winter of AD 872-3"

Morley Medieval Society, 16 May 2014

  • D.M. Hadley: "The winter camp of the Viking 'great army' in 872-3 at Torksey (Lincolnshire): new archaeological evidence"

Medieval Pottery Research Group. Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery, 10 May 2014

  • Gareth Perry: "Pottery manufacture in Anglo-Scandinavian Torksey, Lincolnshire"

School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology, Queen's University Belfast, 29 April 2014

  • D.M.Hadley: "The Viking winter camp of 872-3 at Torksey, Lincolnshire"

Midlands Vikings Symposium, University of Birmingham, 26 April 2014

  • G.Williams: Repton revisited: the Viking camps of the Great Army in the light of the Torksey and 'North Yorkshire' sites

Mansfield Archaeological Society, 16 April 2014

  • D.M.Hadley: "The Viking winter camp at Torksey, Lincolnshire"

"What's new in British Archaeology", Institute of Archaeologists Annual Conference, University of Glasgow, 11 April 2014

  • D.M.Hadley: "The Viking winter camp of 872-3 at Torksey, Lincolnshire"

Upper Wharfedale Field Society, Grassington, 24 March 2014

  • J.D.Richards: "Camp followers of the Viking Great Army"

The World of the Vikings Conference, University of York, 22 March 2014

  • D.M.Hadley and J.D.Richards: "The Viking Great Army and the winter of AD 872-3”

Current Archaeology Conference 2014, Senate House, University of London, 1 March 2014

  • J.D.Richards: "The Viking Great Army at Torksey"

'Rethinking the Dark Ages' lunchtime lecture, The Collection Lincoln, 21 Feb 2014

  • Gareth Perry: "The Viking Torksey Project"

3D Archaeological Society, Harrogate, 20 Feb 2014

  • J.D.Richards: "Viking Torksey"

Trent Valley Geoarchaeology meeting, 6 Feb 2014

  • S.Stein: "Geoarchaeology and OSL dating on the coversands at Torksey, Lincolnshire: bringing a Viking winter camp to light"

Medieval Archaeology Seminar, University of Oxford Institute of Archaeology, 27 Jan 2014

  • D.M.Hadley: "The viking winter camp of 872-3 at Torksey, Lincolnshire: new archaeological discoveries"

New perspectives on Viking fortifications and encampents, University of Aarhus, Denmark, 5 Dec 2013

  • J.D.Richards: "Torksey - Winter Camp of the Viking Great Army"

Society of Antiquaries, London, 28 Nov 2013

Identity and Otherness among the Barbarians in Late Antiquity and Early Medieval Europe The difficult relationship between textual and archaeological record, 31 Oct 2013

  • D.M.Hadley: "Ethnic identity in Viking-Age England: when two worlds collide"

17th Viking Congress, Shetland, 2-10 August 2013

  • J.D. Richards: "Torksey: Winter Camp of the Viking Great Army"
  • D.M. Hadley: "Torksey: The Anglo-Scandinavian burh and Late Saxon town"

48th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, 9 May 2013

  • D.M. Hadley: "Viking Winter Camps in England: New Archaeological Evidence"

East Midlands Heritage: conference to mark the publication of the Updated Research Agenda and Strategy for the Historic Environment of the East Midlands, Derby, 15 Sept 2012

  • D.M. Hadley: "Recent investigations of the Viking winter camp and Anglo-Scandinavian town at Torksey, Lincolnshire" 

International Medieval Congress, Leeds, 12 July 2012

  • J.D. Richards: "The Viking Winter Camp at Torskey"
  • A. Woods: "Metalwork from the Torksey Viking Site"
  • G. Perry & J. Young: "The Anglo-Scandinavian Pottery Industry at Torksey, Lincolnshire"
  • D. Hadley: "Burial Practices in Viking-Age Torksey"
  • H. Brown & S. Stein: "Surveying the Landscape of the Viking Winter Camp"
  • S. Sindbaek: "Ringfenced Vikings: Scandinavian army camps and defensive tactics from Torksey to Trelleborg" 


BBC One, 'Vikings Uncovered', First broadcast 8 April 2016

BBC Radio Lincolnshire, 6 March 2014

  • Samantha Stein: The palaeoenvironment of Torksey

'Indiana Jones. Myth, reality and 21st century archaeology', Voice of America, 18 Dec 2013



Contact Details

Julian Richards, Dept of Archaeology, University of York

Dawn Hadley,  Dept of Archaeology, University of Sheffield