Torksey after the Vikings: Urban Origins in England

Dawn Hadley, Julian D Richards, Gareth Perry, Elizabeth Craig-Atkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In AD 872–3 a large Viking army overwintered at Torksey, on the River Trent in Lincolnshire. We have previously published the archaeological evidence for its camp but in this paper we explore what happened after the Army moved on. We integrate the findings of previous research with the outcomes of our fieldwork, including magnetometer and metal detector surveys, fieldwalking, and targeted excavation of a kiln and cemetery enclosure ditch. We examine the evidence for the growth of the important Anglo-Saxon burh at Torksey and the development of its pottery industry, and report on the discovery of the first glazed Torksey ware, in an area which has a higher density of Late Saxon kilns than anywhere else in England. Our study of the pottery indicates its continental antecedents, whilst stable isotope analysis of human remains from the associated cemetery indicates that it included non-locals, and we demonstrate artefactual links between the kilns and the Vikings in the winter camp. We conclude that the Viking Great Army was a catalyst for urban and industrial development in Torksey and suggest the need to reconsider our models for Late Saxon urbanism.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages33
JournalThe Antiquaries Journal
Early online date17 Mar 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s), 2023

Cite this