12 November 2016

Viking Torksey

As a follow-on to my previous post calling attention to the archaeological recovery of 'The Winter Camp of the Great Viking Army at Torksey,' you might find the following short article interesting. It comes to us from the University of York, Department of Archaeology.

Torksey is a small village in the West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, eastern England. The site of the encampment may cover as much as 50 hectares (123.5 acres), and is believed to be the largest Viking camp ever discovered in the UK. The excavation work will take years of effort and a great deal of money to accomplish.

This is not just a winter camp of heathen Viking raiders, they brought their women and children. Obviously, they came to settle the land, and they did just that, as history has shown. 

I encourage interested readers to click on the links below the article's title for a comprehensive look at the reports of those who worked hard to bring this information to light. 

The Media link features two videos that are most engaging.

If you like reading about the Vikings, check out my three historical fiction Axe of Iron novels on the Greenland Vikings and their assimilation with the pre-historical Indians of Canada (Ed.)


Torksey is widely known as a Viking winter camp from an entry in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for AD872. A growing body of archaeological evidence offers the potential of placing the site in its broader chronological and spatial context. Previous work has focussed on the pottery industry associated with an Anglo-Scandinavian town or burh.

Recent metal detector finds have also suggested Torksey may be an Anglo-Saxon ‘productive site’, implying that Viking occupation must be seen in the context of pre-existing Saxon inhabitation. ‎‎ 

The aim of the project is to understand the role and significance of Torksey by plotting the chronological and spatial development of the various centres of activity, which have been tentatively identified through metal detecting.  These include a putative Anglo-Saxon riverine ‘beach market’, the Viking winter encampment and wider trading site, the Anglo-Scandinavian burh and the Torksey ware kilns.

The project has major implications for wider understanding of the Viking Great Army and its interaction with local populations, the development of Anglo-Saxon burhs, and the evolving nature of trade and industry in the early medieval period, and its connections with power and ideology.

Funding has been provided by the British Academy, the Society of Antiquaries of London, and the Robert Kiln Trust.

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