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15 Pages

Viking-Age Settlement in the North-Western Countryside: Lifting the Veil?

WithNicholas Higham

The impression of large-scale and widespread immigration is then implicit in James Graham-Campbell’s mapping of Viking settlement in 1980 and Simon Keynes’s map of 1998, of ‘The Kingdom of the Anglo-Saxons’, both of which effectively block out the north-west as Scandinavian space. Edward James’s map of Britain c. 900 is indicative of the more cautious approach now being taken, illustrating ‘main areas where place-names of Scandinavian origin are found’ as opposed to settlement activity itself, so distinguishing interpretation from data. In this context, it is simply no longer acceptable to treat whole of western Northumbria and the north-western corner of Mercia as if they were a single region characterized by Scandinavian settlement in the Viking Age. The Irish successfully expelled the Scandinavians from Dublin around 900, and the assumption on the part of modern scholars that they fled to one or more of estuaries or natural harbours of western England is broadly probable, with the Ribble as the favoured location.