In search of Vikings - University experts in arts and sciences publish new book

Viking Book
29 Jan 2015 17:21:49.207


A new book containing some of the latest fascinating research into the Viking Age has been published by experts from The University of Nottingham, Oxford University and the Chester Grosvenor Museum.


In Search of Vikings: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Scandinavian Heritage of North-West England’ is a unique collection of new discoveries from the arts and sciences about the presence and influence of these famous Scandinavian invaders in a region considered as a Viking ‘hot spot’.

Joint editor Steve Harding, Professor of Applied Biochemistry at the University’s National Centre for Macromolecular Hydrodynamics and member of the University’s Centre for the Study of the Viking Age, said: “The book contains 12 contributions from top experts covering a broad range of disciplines including history, archaeology, biochemistry, isotope technology, laser technology, genetics and linguistics in a concerted attempt to shed new light on the Viking history of the north west of England where the Vikings are known to have settled.  This is one of the first times such diverse approaches have been brought together in one volume on the Viking Age”.

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Steve’s colleague from Wirral and co-editor Dr David Griffiths, Reader in Archaeology at the University of Oxford, said: “Historians and archaeologists have sometimes worked together in the past but this is the first time they have teamed up with bioscientists and people writing from a community and outreach perspective”.


Professor Judith Jesch, Director of The University of Nottingham’s Centre for the Study of the Viking Age has contributed a chapter on the language and cultural interaction of the Vikings in the lands bordering the Irish Sea. Professor Jesch said: “The diversity of approaches in this book enables a much more in-depth understanding of the Viking phenomenon than is possible through just history and archaeology.”


Other contributors from the University’s Centre for the Study of the Viking Age include Dr Christina Lee writing about new theories and evidence about Viking Age women.  Dr Paul Cavill shows how fresh appraisal of the evidence means the location of one of the country’s largest and bloodiest of battles – Brunanburh in 937 – seems to have at last been identified with a high degree of confidence and 

Dr John Quanrud considers the resonances for the north-West of another famous Viking battle – Tettenhall in 910.

The book also contains contributions covering:

  • stratographical and carbon dating analysis for identifying Viking Age rural settlements
  • how chemical isotope and other analyses are unravelling fascinating sites in Cumbria at Workington and Carlisle
  • how metal and silver analysis of coin and treasure hoards, together with the tremendous advances in modern genetic analysis, is telling us about how people in the Viking Age traded and the great strength of the north-west settlements.

The final chapter shows how modern laser image technologies are helping to preserve and reconstruct many artefacts from the Viking Age and how this has provided a superb forum for interacting with schools and the general public.

In Search of Vikings – Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Scandinavian Heritage of North West England by S. Harding, D. Griffiths and E. Royles is published by CRC Press, ISBN 1482207575 and is available from all good booksellers.

— Ends —

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with campuses in China and Malaysia modelled on a headquarters that is among the most attractive in Britain’ (Times Good University Guide 2014). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers, in the top 10 for student experience according to the Times Higher Education and winner of ‘Research Project of the Year’ at the THE Awards 2014. It is ranked in the world’s top one per cent of universities by the QS World University Rankings, and 8th in the UK by research power according to REF 2014.

The University of Nottingham in Malaysia (UNMC) is holding events throughout 2015 to celebrate 15 years as a pioneer of transnational education. Based in Semenyih, UMNC was established as the UK's first overseas campus in Malaysia and one of the first world-wide.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…

Story credits

More information is available from Professor Stephen Harding, The University of Nottingham, on +44 (0)115 951 6148 

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