York Medieval Lecture
From AD 865 to 879 a Viking army wreaked havoc on the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, leading to political conquest, settlement on a substantial scale, and extensive Scandinavian cultural and linguistic influences in eastern and northern England. This critical period for English history led to revolutionary changes in land ownership, society, and economy, including the growth of towns and industry, while transformations in power politics would ultimately see the rise of Wessex as the pre-eminent kingdom of Anglo-Saxon England. Yet despite the pivotal role of the so-called Great Army in these events, little is known of it; the available documentary sources provide few insights into its activities and intentions, and until now archaeological evidence has largely remained elusive. Now a collaborative project between the Universities of York and Sheffield has discovered the location of one of its winter camps at Torksey (Lincs) from AD 872-3. This talk will discuss the new evidence from Torksey and related sites to provide a fresh perspective on the Viking Great Army and its impact on Anglo-Saxon England.