Raffield Ben, Landscapes of conflict and control

Raffield Ben, Landscapes of conflict and control : creating an archaeological atlas of Scandinavian occupied England, AD 878-954, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2013, (dir. N. Price, G. Noble, Université d’Aberdeen)

Résumé/abstract :
This study re-analyses and re-interprets the Scandinavian occupation of England during the period AD 878-954, which has hitherto been dominated by traditional interpretations based on partial and at times unreliable historical sources. Interpretations of the area commonly referred to as the ‘Danelaw’ largely focus on the role of the City of York and the ‘Five Boroughs’ of Derby, Leicester, Lincoln, Nottingham and Stamford. The reliance on inevitably sparse Anglo-Saxon texts, whilst providing a chronological framework within which to work, has “streamlined” history, producing only a partial picture of the period. Many aspects of this traditional history have been challenged in recent years. Indeed, even terminology traditionally used, such as the word ‘Danelaw’, has been subject to investigation and revision. Our archaeological knowledge, however, has not always been applied to these advances and a number of long-established interpretational models and frameworks remain unmodified or unchallenged. This project addresses the Scandinavian occupation through the study of conflict, warfare and power in Viking Age England. A wide range of data was studied, with the integration of this into GIS allowing evidence to not only be analysed within individual topographic contexts, but also on a landscape-wide scale. The study not only provides a re-analysis of the Viking Age English landscape, but highlights new and exciting bodies of evidence from which future research may derive. The data revealed that whilst some aspects of conflict, such as battle, are thus far not represented archaeologically, territorial consolidation, socio-political and religious changes within a context of endemic warfare can be identified. The study suggests a number of potential avenues of research through which our knowledge of the Viking Age might be augmented.

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