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The ‘Great Heathen Army’ in history and archaeology Talk

March 7, 2023 2:00pm - 3:00pm

The ‘Great Heathen Army’ in history and archaeology Talk

Tuesday 7 March 2023

2pm to 3pm

Booking link:

£5 or Free for Ancient House Friends and Norfolk Museums Passholders

Advanced booking essential.

Join Gareth Williams, curator at the British Museum for a talk on the Viking Great Army. In 865 a Scandinavian force arrived in East Anglia, and established itself over the winter. It was labelled by Anglo-Saxon sources as ‘the great heathen army’, and over the next fourteen years it travelled around England, conquering one kingdom after another. Unlike previous Viking raiders, this force over-wintered in hostile territory each year in a series of winter camps, including Thetford, and the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms struggled to counter this new strategy. The conquests of the ‘great heathen army’ led first to the division of England into areas under Anglo-Saxon and Viking rulers, and then to the creation of a new unified kingdom of England under the descendants of the West Saxon king Alfred the Great. Contemporary written sources provide only an outline of events, although one that has shaped our understanding of this key period in English history ever since. Over the last two decades, a series of new archaeological discoveries, including Viking silver hoards and the sites of winter camps, have provided important new insights into the detail of what really happened during this turbulent period.