Anglo‐Scandinavian Identity

Julian D. Richards

in The Oxford Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199212149
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

 Anglo‐Scandinavian Identity

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This article explores the circumstances that led to Scandinavian invaders being assimilated into Anglo-Saxon England and ensured that it was the Anglo-Saxons, not the Vikings, who came to be regarded as the ancestral English. The Scandinavian settlers who arrived in England did not have a common identity. The Scandinavian elite were quick to form local alliances which cross-cut ethnic divides and did not promote any sense of Scandinavian unity. There was no single hybrid Anglo-Scandinavian identity, but a range of strategies, dependent upon context. It is clear that Scandinavians and Anglo-Saxons actively used material culture in the process of cultural assimilation, with rapid integration. It is also shown that there was no single experience of settlement or interaction, and whilst it is helpful to talk about an ‘Anglo-Scandinavian identity’ this was not derived from a simple combination of Anglo-Saxon culture on the one hand and Scandinavian on the other.

Keywords: Anglo-Scandinavian identity; Scandinavian invaders; Anglo-Saxon England; Vikings; settlement; Anglo-Saxon culture; material culture; cultural assimilation

Article.  6998 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Archaeology

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