Accessibility statement

The Vikings in Northumbria


In 793 Viking raiders attacked the coastal monastery of Lindisfarne. In 866 the Viking ‘great army’ attacked the city of York and conquered the kingdom of Northumbria. After that, as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records, ‘they shared out the land of the Northumbrians and they proceeded to plough and to support themselves’. Scandinavian kings ruled in York until 954, and even after that time, right up until 1066 and beyond, the area they had ruled over (roughly equivalent to the modern county of Yorkshire) showed strong signs of Scandinavian culture and political separatism.

 This team-taught module will explore, from an inter-disciplinary perspective, the history and culture of the Vikings in Northumbria. Using a variety of sources and approaches (archaeological, artistic, textual, and linguistic), the module will examine questions of migration, settlement, religion, politics, economy, culture, and identity. A recurrent emphasis will be on issues of interaction and assimilation between Anglo-Saxons and Scandinavians.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to demonstrate:

  • knowledge and understanding of the history and culture of the Vikings in Northumbria
  • knowledge and understanding of appropriate disciplines and methodologies for the study of the Vikings in Northumbria

Module Structure

The module is team-taught, and students will have one 2-hour seminar a week. 


Seminar programme for Autumn Term 2019:

Week 2: Introduction: history and migration (Dawn Hadley)

Week 3: The archaeology of the Great Army (Julian Richards)

Week 4: Settlement archaeology (Julian Richards)

Week 5: The Viking kings of York (TBC)

Week 6: Coinage (Dawn Hadley and Andy Woods, Yorkshire Museum)

Week 7: Names (Eleanor Rye)

Week 8: Stone sculpture (Jane Hawkes)

Week 9: Reception and re-discovery (Dawn Hadley)

[Week 10: Field trip (Jane Hawkes]



Assessment for this module will be by a final essay of 3500-4000 words. Students can chose their topics and their disciplinary focus for this coursework, and will have the opportunity to submit a draft piece of work for discussion with their tutors. 

The final essay will be due in Week 1 of the following term. 

Introductory Reading

Dawn M. Hadley, The Vikings in England: Settlement, Society and Culture (Manchester, 2006)

Katherine Holman, The Northern Conquest: Vikings in Britain and Ireland (Oxford, 2007)

Julian D. Richards and Dawn M. Hadley (eds), Cultures in Contact: Scandinavian settlement in England in the ninth and tenth centuries (Turnhout, 2000)

Matthew Townend, Viking Age Yorkshire (Pickering, 2014)




Module: MST00069M

Convenor: Prof. Dawn Hadley

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