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"Inside that fortress sat a few peasant men, and it was half-made": a study of 'Viking' fortifications in the British Isles, AD793-1066

Raffield, Benjamin Paul (2010)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

The study of Viking fortifications is a neglected subject which could reveal much to archaeologists about the Viking way of life. The popular representation of these Scandinavian seafarers is often as drunken, bloodthirsty heathens who rampaged across Britain leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. Excavations at Coppergate, York and Dublin however, show that the Vikings developed craft and industry wherever they settled, bringing Britain back into trade routes lost since the collapse of the Roman Empire. These glimpses of domestic life show a very different picture of the Vikings to that portrayed in popular culture. Fortifications provide a compromise to these views, as they are relatively safe, militarised locations where an army in hostile territory can undertake both military and ‘domestic’ activities. This study investigates the historiography of the Vikings and suspected fortification sites in Britain, aiming to understand the processes behind which archaeological sites have been designated as ‘Viking’ in the past. The thesis will also consider the study of Viking fortifications in an international context and attempt to identify future avenues of research that might be taken in an effort to better understand this archaeologically elusive people.

Type of Work:M.Phil. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Carman, John and Callow, Chris P.
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity
Subjects:CC Archaeology
DL Northern Europe. Scandinavia
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1102
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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