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Title: Viking-Age settlements in North-West England : a re-consideration
Author: Watson, Richard R.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3564 3696
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2008
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Since the mid-nineteenth century, the presence of large numbers of Viking place-names and pieces of sculpture, in the North West of England, has been interpreted in terms of a large-scale tenth- and eleventh-century Scandinavian settlement. This thesis re-considers, both in theoretical and actual terms, the philological and archaeological evidence underpinning this model of settlement, placed against a re-evaluation of the Viking-Age landscape, using the Hundred of Amounderness as a case study. Current attempts to model the Viking-Age North West are not fully convincing. Reconstruction of the landscape has focused upon the region's wetlands, using what are relatively late maps, the modern geological evidence and information provided by the small number of medieval field-names. Recent phytological evidence pUblished by the North West Wetland Survey reveals little evidence of rapid or sustained clearance in the tenth and eleventh centuries, so also casts doubt on the existence of a significant Viking-Age ingress into the region's previously unadopted hinterland. The quantity of Scandinavian archaeology is also comparatively thin in the North West and much of the philological evidence has an uncertain chronology. This picture is insufficiently convincing to evidence a large-scale Viking settlement. Using a new philological model of the Viking North West, and an alternative and more fluid vision of ethnic identity, it seems more likely that the level of archaeological and linguistic change evidenced within the region was the result of a relatively small but elite status Scandinavian settlement; these were communities originating from Ireland, Scandinavia, the Scottish Isles, the Isle of Man and/or Yorkshire. With a relatively small population in the North West, the indigenous English communities may have been particularly vulnerable to cultural change, a change that may also have been driven by increasing contact with the Norse settlements in Ireland and beyond.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available