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Finding vikings in the Danelaw

Buckberry, J., Montgomery, J., Towers, J., Muldner, G., Holst, M., Evans, J., Gledhill, A., Neale, N. and Lee-Thorp, J. (2014) Finding vikings in the Danelaw. Oxford Journal of Archaeology, 33 (4). pp. 413-434. ISSN 1468-0092

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/ojoa.12045


Historical, artefactual and place-name evidence indicates that Scandinavian migrants moved to eastern England in the ninth century AD, settling in the Danelaw. However, only a handful of characteristically Scandinavian burials have been found in the region. One, widely held, explanation is that most of these Scandinavian settlers quickly adopted local Christian burial customs, thus leaving Scandinavians indistinguishable from the Anglo-Saxon population. We undertook osteological and isotopic analysis to investigate the presence of first-generation Scandinavian migrants. Burials from Masham were typical of the later Anglo-Saxon period and included men, women and children. The location and positioning of the four adult burials from Coppergate, however, are unusual for Anglo-Scandinavian York. None of the skeletons revealed interpersonal violence. Isotopic evidence did not suggest a marine component in the diet of either group, but revealed migration on a regional, and possibly an international, scale. Combined strontium and oxygen isotope analysis should be used to investigate further both regional and Scandinavian migration in the later Anglo-Saxon period.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Scientific Archaeology
Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Archaeology
ID Code:39267

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