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The Part of the Great Heathen Army that went to Northumbria

Featured Image: River Coquet near Rothbury (Wikipedia | John-Paul Stephenson | CC-BY-SA 2.5).

Here is a bit of low-flying news. In a recent History Hit podcast, Dr Cat Jarman and Dr Jane Kershaw discuss a new Viking camp in Northumbria during the days of the Great Heathen Army. Medieval texts suggest that the army splits at one point, after which Halfdan takes a number of men up north. Yet, this statement has lacked archaeological evidence so far, and a good starting point proved elusive. Viking activity up north is less documented, and there are many possible locations for Halfdan’s camp.

The reason archaeologists now know where to look, results from diligent work of metal detector enthusiasts, and the growing knowledge on Viking winter camps. The sites at Repton and Torksey, for example, reveal sizeable amounts of objects for daily use, such as gaming pieces, coinage and other ‘ordinary’ objects. This trend also showed up in metal detectorists’ reports from the Coquet valley, leading archaeologists to start excavating here. The search for Halfdan’s camp will continue in 2021!

Hear the podcast on History Hit or read the The Times.

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