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Odoacer (left) and Theoderic (right) in a woodcut from the Hartmann Schedel (1493).
INTERFOTO / Alamy Stock Photo
Wulf and Eadwacer occupies just a few lines in the Exeter Book, an anthology of mostly anonymous Old English poems made in the second half of the 10th century. As a relic of a literary culture largely lost, the Exeter Book is priceless. But some of its contents are very hard to understand.
This includes Wulf and Eadwacer. The poem’s first editor said in 1842: “Of this I can make no sense.” Over 100 studies later, not much has changed.
The poem seems to be spoken by a woman, lamenting her relation to two men, Wulf and Eadwacer, in some unknown watery landscape with islands. She also mentions a “whelp”, often supposed to be her child by one or other of them, or neither. If you think that sounds clear enough, every point could be – and has been – disputed by scholars.
William the Conqueror & Harold II swearing - 11th century.
Image: Adobe Stock - Erica Guilane-Nachez
William was the son of Herleva and Robert I, the Duke of Normandy, France, then known as “Francia”). William was frequently called a bastard, especially by his opponents. The reason was that his mother actually never married his father, Robert, most probably because Herleva was a simple Anglo-Saxon woman and not of noble birth.
Although he was the illegitimate son of the Duke of Normandy Robert the Magnificent (also called "Robert the Devil"), after his father's death in 1035, William was named his successor at only eight years of age. Under the name of William II (in French: Guillaume II), the boy became the new duke of Normandy during a challenging time.
80 years ago when the pub was built, workers made a discovery which is thought could be a Viking boat
Dominga Dett, Chair of Wirral Archaeology said: "There has been intense local interest in this buried object for many years.
"It has been thought that the boat dates from the Viking era but no professional investigation has ever been carried out to establish the truth, so everyone is really delighted at the prospect of what we might discover."
Lisa Jones, General Manager at The Railway, said: "Team Railway is very happy to be part of this historic moment and supports the work of the archelogy group.
"There is a buzz and excitement around this and we look forward to finding out more about what is buried beneath the car park.
ARCHAEOLOGISTS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM ARE INVESTIGATING AN ANCIENT BOAT BURIED BENEATH A PUB CAR PARK IN WIRRAL, ENGLAND.
The boat was first discovered in 1938 by workmen, who partially exposed the vessel at the Railway Inn pub in Meols. The workmen reburied the boat after making several notes and sketches, with no further archaeological studies conducted until now.
A closer study of the sketches suggest that the boat is a clinker design (overlapping planks), technique that developed in the Nordic shipbuilding tradition, and was commonly used by the Anglo-Saxons, Frisians and Scandinavians.
Archaeologists now claim that English monasteries were more resilient to Viking attacks than previously thought.
The monastery of Lyminge is known for being an Anglo-Saxon royal monastery. Archaeological research demonstrates that Lyminge is one of the best preserved monastic sites in Kent – a region where Christianity first gained a foothold in Anglo-Saxon England. Because of its importance, it was repeatedly attacked by Vikings, until Alfred the Great won a decisive victory in the Battle of Edington (878) and made an agreement with the Vikings, dividing England between Anglo-Saxon territories and the Viking-ruled Danelaw. Alfred also oversaw the conversion of the Danish Viking warlord Guthrum to Christianity, and soon became the dominant ruler in England, even taking London back from its Viking occupants.
A Viking burial mound at Heath Wood being excavated. (Image credit: Julian Richards, University of York)
A Viking cemetery in England doesn't just hold the cremated remains of these warriors but also the beloved animals they brought from Scandinavia.
When the Vikings sailed west to England more than a millennium ago, they brought their animal companions with them and even cremated their bodies alongside human ones in a blazing pyre before burying them together, a new study finds.
These animal and human remains were found in a unique cremation cemetery in central England that has long been assumed to hold the remains of Vikings — in particular, the warriors who sailed west to raid the countryside in the ninth century A.D. However, the new analysis revealed that several of the burial mounds didn't contain just the remains of humans but also those of domesticated animals that the warriors brought with them on their journey.
Excavations at Heath Wood in Derbyshire, the only known large-scale Viking cremation site in the British Isles. Photograph: Handout
Experts find evidence at Derbyshire cremation site of horses and dogs originating from the Baltic Shield
When the Vikings arrived in England they didn’t just bring their helmets, axes and beards –they also brought their horses and dogs, research suggests.
Experts studying cremated remains associated with the Viking great army that invaded England in AD865, say they have found evidence of animals and humans travelling from the Baltic Shield – a geographical area that encompasses Finland and parts of Norway, Sweden and Russia.
“It’s the first scientific proof that the Vikings did bring their animals with them from Scandinavia,” said Prof Julian Richards, co-author of the study from the University of York.
“It’s so nice to have this scientific evidence for something we see later in the Bayeux tapestry with the Normans disembarking the fleet, but this is 200 years earlier.”
Writing in the journal Plos One, Richards and colleagues describe how they analysed the ratio of different strontium isotopes in cremated remains found at the barrow cemetery at Heath Wood, Derbyshire.
The first physical proof that Vikings brought horses and dogs to England has been unearthed
Archaeologists have uncovered the first physical evidence that confirms some Vikings shipped their own horses and dogs from Scandinavia to England.
The animal bone evidence comes from a burial mound at the only known Viking cremation cemetery in the British Isles. The Heath Wood cemetery – located in what is now Derbyshire in central England – is believed to be a burial ground for the first large Viking army to travel to the country.
Viking burial mound at Heath Wood, Derbyshire, UK, being excavated. Credit: Julian Richards, University of York.
Archaeologists have found what they say is the first solid scientific evidence suggesting that Vikings crossed the North Sea to Britain with dogs and horses.
Research led by Durham University, UK, and the Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Belgium, examined human and animal remains from Britain's only known Viking cremation cemetery at Heath Wood, in Derbyshire.
Scientists looked at strontium isotopes contained within the remains. Strontium is a natural element found in different ratios across the world and provides a geographical fingerprint for human and animal movements.
Their analysis showed that within the context of the archaeology, one human adult and several animals almost certainly came from the Baltic Shield area of Scandinavia, covering Norway and central and northern Sweden, and died soon after arrival in Britain.
The researchers say this suggests that Vikings were not only stealing animals when they arrived in Britain, as accounts from the time describe, but were also transporting animals from Scandinavia, too.
Cremation leaves behind bone fragments like these, which can still reveal information about their geographic origin, if not much else.Julian Richards, University of York
The bones of one dead warrior and their animals may shed new light on the Viking Great Army’s logistics.
When the army of (mostly) Scandinavian warriors landed in East Anglia in 865 CE, they came to plunder — and they were equally happy to fight or to extort the locals. The king of East Anglia, Edmund the Martyr, apparently gave the Viking Great Army horses in return for not having to fight the Vikings, and unleashing them on neighboring, rival kingdoms like Mercia and Wessex. Elsewhere, the Vikings were said to steal horses and whatever else they wanted.
Based on historical descriptions like the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, it sounds like the Viking Great Army’s approach to logistical planning was “we’ll just steal it when we get there.” But recent archaeological evidence suggests that at least some Vikings brought animals like horses, dogs, and maybe even pigs with them on their campaign to Britain.
Durham University archaeologist Tessi Löffelmann and her colleagues published their findings in a recent paper in the journal PLOS ONE.
What’s new — Wherever you go in the world, the bedrock beneath your feet has a particular ratio of different isotopes of the element strontium. That isotopic ratio gives the place a chemical fingerprint that’s shared by plants that grow in the soil, animals that eat the plants and drink the water, and other animals that eat those animals. Once it’s in the body, strontium can fill in for calcium in your bones, so that if you’ve in a place long enough, its geology becomes part of your bones.
Vikings sailing from Scandinavia to England brought horses, dogs and perhaps even pigs with them, according to analysis of bone remains.
Invading Vikings were previously thought to have largely stolen animals from villages in Britain.
The findings also provide evidence Viking leaders had a close relationship with animals and travelled with them, the lead scientist says.
The 9th Century bones were found in burial mounds in Heath Wood, Derbys.
Cremated animal and human remains had been found buried together, suggesting the creatures had special meaning and been burned on the same funeral pyre as humans, doctoral researcher Tessi Löffelmann, from Durham University and Vrije Universiteit Brussels, told BBC News.
English monasteries were more resilient to Viking attacks than previously thought, archaeologists have concluded.
Lyminge, a monastery in Kent, was on the front line of long-running Viking hostility which ended in the victories of Alfred the Great. The monastery endured repeated attacks, but resisted collapse for almost a century, through effective defensive strategies put in place by ecclesiastical and secular rulers of Kent, University of Reading archaeologists say.
The new evidence is presented after a detailed examination of archaeological and historical evidence by Gabor Thomas from the University of Reading. “The image of ruthless Viking raiders slaughtering helpless monks and nuns is based on written records, but a re-examination of the evidence show the monasteries had more resilience than we might expect,” Thomas explains.
Despite being located in a region of Kent which bore the full brunt of Viking raids in the later 8th and early 9th centuries, the evidence suggests that the monastic community at Lyminge not only survived these attacks but recovered more completely than historians previously thought, Dr Thomas concludes in research, published this month in the journal Archaeologia.