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The Viking Great Army and the Making of England

Dawn Hadley, Julian Richards


The hidden story of a little-known but transformative period in the formation of England as a nation


The Viking Great Army that swept through England between AD 865 and 878 altered the course of British history. Instead of making quick smash-and-grab summer raids for silver and slaves, Vikings now remained in the country and became immersed in its communities. The Viking army was here to stay.

Tracing the movements of the Great Army across the country, this book pieces together a new picture of Viking Age England in unprecedented detail, from swords, coins, jewelry and the burials of great warriors to the everyday objects that ordinary farmers and craftsmen discarded. Drawing on the most up-to-date discoveries and the latest scientific techniques, this is the definitive account of a vital period in England’s history.

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'Exciting ... describes stunning new archaeological discoveries that totally rewrite our view of what happened ... Unmissable for anyone interested in early medieval history and who finds the Viking Age one of the most dramatic, violent, yet formative epochs in British history'
Michael Wood, Historian and author of 'The Story of China' and 'In Search of the Dark Ages'

'A detailed yet enjoyable read, and a timely stock-take of this pivotal point in the history of England. It is a story that could never before have been told as fully as it can now'
Cat Jarman, Current Archaeology

'A superbly well-written synthesis, combining historical overview, archaeological analysis, and insightful interpretation'
Neil Faulkner, The Past

'Impressive ... an essential addition to the shelves of those with an interest in the Viking Age and the events that would shape the political development of England'
British Archaeology

'Highly readable … replete with maps and illustrations helping to bring this vital period convincingly to life'
Yorkshire Life

Archaeology & Conservation in Derbyshire

'An important, useful, and enjoyable book … a remarkable achievement'
The History Teacher

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Size: 19.8 x 12.9 cm

Extent: 320 pp

Illustrations: 107

Publication date: 4 August 2022

ISBN: 9780500296622

Contents List

Prologue: Heroes and Villains

Part I: The Vikings and their World
1. Warrior-Chiefs and Kings
2. The Raids Begin Part

Part II: The Viking Great Army
3. A Pivotal Decade
4. The Winter of AD 872–3 and the Camp at Torksey
5. Beyond the Winter Camps
6. The Army’s Dead
7. Raiders to Settlers
8. York and the Viking Camp at Aldwark

Part III: The Making of a Nation
9. Wessex Fights Back and the Origins of England
10 The First Industrial Revolution

Epilogue: Immigrants and Artisans

About the Author

Dawn M. Hadley and Julian D. Richards are both professors of archaeology at the University of York. They are co-directors of the Tents to Towns project, exploring the transition from Viking raiding to trading. Julian is author of Viking Age England, now in its third edition, and The Vikings: A Very Short Introduction. Dawn is author of The Vikings in England: Settlement, Society and Culture.

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