Viking Age Archaeology

Viking Age Archaeology

By by Richard Hall
Shire Books, 2010 (first published in 1990)
ISBN:  9780747800637

Viking raids, and the subsequent Scandinavian settlements in the ninth and tenth centuries, had a major effect on many parts of Britain and Ireland. These impacts can best be seen in a wide variety of archaeological discoveries, primarily from distinctive pre-Christian burials, which contain weapons, tools, jewellery and metal, wood and bone artefacts. Written by an expert in the field of Viking and Norse archaeology, this book examines the distinctive archaeology of each phase, aspect or area of Norse impact in turn, with sufficient historical background to put the archaeological discoveries into context.

Review: Viking Age Archaeology by Richard Hall is a short guide to the impact that the Vikings had on the British Isles during the Early Middle Ages and the archaeological remains they produced. Only 64 pages, the book is meant to give readers a quick introduction to the various types of archaeological evidence, with some focus on two important Viking settlements — Dublin and York. The northern English city was, in fact, the site of a major Viking archaeological dig run by Richard Hall in the 1970s.

Hall goes over several different types of archaeological remains — art work, coins, stone carvings, runes, and the material found in hoards and graves. The book only introduces these topics, so you just get some brief remarks about what has been found and notes some places where major finds have occurred. The book ends with information on which museums in the British Isles have collections of Viking Age artefacts.

If there is one major problem with the book is that it was first published over 20 years ago, so it is somewhat out-of-date, not covering any of the interesting finds and developments from the last two decades. Also, except for the front cover all the photographs in the book are in black and white, which creates a dull look. Still, this short guide will serve as good starting point for anyone interested in this field.

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