The Mythbusting Sword from the Bedale Hoard

By Dr Sue Brunning Written sources from Viking period Britain create the impression that gold-hilted swords were typical weapons for high status warriors. Alfred the Great (871–99) described royal retainers wielding them; his father Æthelwulf (839–58) gifted one to the Holy See in Rome; and his grandson Eadred (946–59) bequeathed another. In the poem about …

Viking Age stone sculpture in the East Midlands

By Paul Everson How do you make new discoveries of archaeological material dating from the Anglo-Scandinavian era in the East Midlands: the 9th, 10th and 11th centuries? And how do you contribute to scholarly and popular understanding of the Viking Age in England? For myself and my friend and long-term academic collaborator, David Stocker, the …

Pagans and Christians

By Professor Lesley Abrams How helpful are the terms ‘pagan’ and ‘Christian’, or the concept of the ‘conversion to Christianity’, in explaining the political, religious, and cultural transformation experienced in Scandinavian England in the ninth and tenth centuries? The Viking armies who came to Britain were initially followers of potentially diverse forms of paganism, with …

Vikings in your Vocabulary

By Dr Richard Dance What do English words like egg, husband, law, leg, sky and window have in common?  And what about words used in the dialects of northern and eastern England, like lug (‘ear’), mun (‘shall, must’) and rammy (‘disgusting’)?  The answer is that all these probably came into early English from Old Norse, …

Lunchtime Lecture Preview: Assembling Vikings: Thinking through Things in the East Midlands

By John Baker A feature of the Viking diaspora was the establishment of Thing sites, places of regular popular gatherings, where disputes were settled and justice was done. The Old Norse word thing (usually written þing) meant ‘assembly’, and some Thing sites are famous as places of government—Thingvellir, location of the Icelandic Althing, Tinganes, historically …