vikings A new perspective riffiths
: Dav images bove Viking sites in the Wirral, Lower Dee and Mersey. above right Viking sites in northern Cumbria.
below Meols. Wirral, from the east.
The beach market at Meols
The beach at Meols has yielded plenty of evidence for Viking trade. Discovered in the 19th century when the sea began to erode the sand dunes of the north coast of the Wirral peninsula, the material from this site now fills museums in Liverpool, Chester, Warrington and London, as well as the private collections of scores of beachcombers. The recent analyses by David Griffiths, Robert Philpott and Geoff Egan of thousands of finds of metalwork, coins, pottery and worked stone (entitled Meols, the Archaeology of the North Wirral Coasts) shows that the beach was the location of a trading centre from the Iron Age onwards. Its main attraction was its centrality to sea and river routes, but another could be that its location within the semi-independent Viking enclave might have put it beyond the reach of the tax authorities. Meols certainly experienced an upturn in activity from the 9th to the early 12th centuries, and some types of Viking find (such as ringed pins) are as numerous here as they are in the Viking cities of Dublin and York. Some finds look like the products of raiding, others of trading, and sometimes it is difficult to say which.
Further evidence of Viking involvement in the revival of the beach market comes from antiquarian accounts of long houses found underneath the eroded sand dunes, whose dimensions
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