Abrief, understated entry in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for the year 872 records that ‘Her nam se here wintersetle æt Turcesige’. Written in Old English, the 9th-century annal is generally translated as ‘Here the army took winter quarters at Turc’s island’. The army in question was a massive Viking war band that had been plundering England for seven years, while the location of their winter camp is modern Torksey, on the River Trent, 13km northwest of Lincoln. Despite this guide, the precise
Inside the Great Army’s winter camp In the winter of AD 872-873 a Viking army made camp at Torksey in Lincolnshire. Dawn Hadley and Julian D Richards are leading a new project to investigate life in those winter quarters, and to discover what happened after the Norsemen moved on. above Artefacts gathered over the last 20 years point to the site of a Viking army’s winter camp occupying what is now a group of six fields lying to the north of modern Torksey village. Fieldwalking, selective excavation, and geophysical survey are being used to investigate this massive 26ha site.
location of the camp defied detection for many years. Now, fresh survey is shedding light on how a Viking army whiled away the winter months, and even the development of Early Medieval urbanism.
The Viking force, often referred to as the Great Army (micel here) because it was so much larger than previous coastal raiding parties, first landed in East Anglia in AD 865. There the invaders quickly acquired horses, transforming it into a
current archaeology | www.archaeology.co.uk
August 2013 |