This book shows how analysis of Scandinavian-influenced place-names in their landscape contexts can provide crucial new evidence of differing processes of Viking migration and settlement in East Anglia between the late ninth and eleventh centuries.
The place-names of East Anglia have until now received little attention in the academic study of Viking settlement. Similarly, the question of a possible migration of settlers from Scandinavia during the Viking period was for many years dismissed by historians and archaeologists — until the recent discovery by metal-detectorists of abundant Scandinavian metalwork and jewellery in many parts of East Anglia. David Boulton has synthesised these two previously neglected elements to offer new insights into the processes of Viking settlement.
This book provides the first comprehensive analysis of Scandinavian-influenced place-names in East Anglia. It examines their different categories linguistically and explores the landscape and archaeological contexts of the settlements associated with them, with the aid of GIS-generated maps. Dr Boulton shows how the process of Viking settlement was influenced by changes in rural society and agriculture which were then already occurring in East Anglia, such as the late Anglo-Saxon expansion of arable farming and the associated recolonisation of the inland clay plateau. These developments resulted in patterns of place-name formation which differ significantly from some of the previously accepted, orthodox interpretations of how Scandinavian-influenced place-names (especially those containing the bý and thorp elements, and the ‘Grimston-hybrids’) came into being in the Danelaw.
In view of these discrepancies, David Boulton proposes an innovative, hypothetical model for the formation of the Scandinavian-influenced place-names in East Anglia, which explores differing patterns and phases of Viking settlement in the region and the possible pathways of migration that preceded them.