Vikings Wintered and Planned Raids at 9th-Century English Site

Vikings raid the English coastline in the 900s.
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Vikings Wintered and Planned Raids at 9th-Century English Site:

A spot in England where thousand of Viking warriors and their families spent their winter months was bigger than most contemporary English towns.

The camp, positioned near Torksey along the River Trent in Lincolnshire, was a major base for Vikings raiders in the late 9th century. Archaeologists 1st found hints of the camp in the 1970s, but recently published for the 1st time a detailed description of the sites boundaries and artifacts in The Antiquaries Journal.

Now, the researcher are unveiling a new virtual reality experiences designed to put modern-day people inside a re-creation of the Torksey winter camp. The VR experience opened on May 19 at the Yorkshire Museum.

“These extraordinary pictures offer a fascinating snapshot of life at a time of great upheaval in Britain,” University of York archaeologist Julian Richards said in a statement.

A scene from the virtual reality experience showing vikings camp.
A scene from the virtual reality experience showing vikings camp.

Winter with the Vikings

Up until the late 800s, Viking frequently raided monasteries along the English coast in the warmer months and headed back to Scandinavia in the winter, Richards stated.

In 865, the Viking sent their largest force ever to England — and decided to stay. Over the next decade, the Viking switched their strategy from lightning raids to permanent takeovers of land and resources, Richard and his colleagues reported in The Antiquaries Journal in December 2016.

Historical source reported that the Vikings made camp at Torksey between 872 and 873. Excavation there done between the 1970s and 1990s revealed a deep ditch that would have been part of this camp, but only since 2011 have archaeologist systematically excavated and discovered the camps true size and scope.

The site stretches 136 acres (55 hectares), and is bounded by wet, marshy land that would have provided a natural defense, Richards stated. The camp was on elevated land, which also would have made it an appealing military location, Richard and his colleagues wrote.

Thousands of coin and other pieces of metal have been found at the campsite, including copper alloy made of lead, silver, gold and iron. More than 280 lead game pieces have been discovered, hinting at how the warriors passed the long, chilly off-season, the researchers said.

Winter’s work

The overwintering Viking also engaged in metalwork and the repair of ships, archaeologist have discovered. Researchers have found coins from as far away as the Middle East, transported along Viking trade routes.

Archaeologist have also uncovered hundreds of pieces of hacked-up metals, which were probably awaiting their turn to be melted down, the researcher have said.

Needles, spindles and awls hint at textile work such as the repair of ship sails and tents, which made up the main shelter for the Vikings horde. Women may have been the textile workers of the camp, the researcher wrote.

Archaeologists have discovered some human remains at the camp, but the bones are too fragmentary to identify more than two bodies definitively (both men under the age of 35), researchers stated. A separate fragment of skull bears the marks of a sharp implement, suggesting a violent death.

Source: livescience


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Jessica Saraceni has been a part of Histecho Since 2018, drawn to the site for its quirky character and through Articles about the Mysteries of earth and human behavior. previously, she was an assistant editor and Research fellow at Archaeology magazine, where she gained an appreciation for the field work. A master's degree in biogeochemistry and environmental science from the Center for Archaeological Research, the University of Texas at San Antonio. She enjoys all forms of exercise; reading works by her favorite author, Haruki Murakami; and playing with her sons.