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Landscapes of Violence in Anglo-Saxon England

The Battle of Ashingdon by Criisjin de Passe the Elder (1637).

with Dr John Baker (University of Nottingham)
& Dr Stuart Brookes (University College London)

at the Old Court, Sutton Hoo (map)
on Saturday, 20th April, 2013.

The organization of sanctioned violence was one of the key aspects of Anglo-Saxon state formation. We shall explore the consequent militarization of the landscape, tracing its development through a range of approaches, and using archaeological, toponymic and documentary sources.

Provisional Programme
(There may be variations to the programme on the day)
  10.00 Coffee on arrival  
  10.15 Introduction – Landscape correlates for early medieval violence (SB) The study of warfare in ancient societies has generated a substantial literature across a range of disciplines, including anthropology, archaeology and history. This section draws on a series of case-studies to examine the range of archaeological and landscape correlates for martial behaviour and, later in the period, state-level militarization in Anglo-Saxon society.  
  11.15 Coffee  
  11.45 Reassessing the terrain (JB) In examining the response to military threats, an understanding of landscape and context is fundamental. This session will take a look at infrastructural concerns – how and how easily did early medieval people, and specifically armies, travel? What impact did different methods of transport and a varied landscape have on military planning?  
  12.45 Lunch break  
  14:00 Beyond the Burghal Hidage (SB) The First Viking Age of the later ninth and early tenth centuries marked a point of considerable innovation in civil and military planning: burhs, or fortified towns, were founded throughout England, bringing together for the first time defence, markets, churches, and local government at a central place; the army and navy were reorganized, as were the systems of mobilization and taxation; and a new concept of ‘Englishness’ promoted in the politics of the day. This section will analyse the origins and impacts of these fundamental changes to English society by exploring the archaeological, historical and landscape evidence of ‘Alfred’s Wars’.  
  15:00 Tea break  
  15:15 Impact on state (JB) A key element in the efficient state apparatus of late Anglo-Saxon England seems to have been a regularised military system – well-defended burghal strongholds rooted in carefully defined territories, and a systematic means of mobilising forces for their maintenance, and for the constitution of the national army or fyrd.These things required carefully planned networks and structures of support, partly innovative and partly built on earlier organisational approaches.  
  16:20 Close  

About The Speakers

About Dr John Baker
John is a Research Fellow in the Institute for Name-Studies, University of Nottingham, where he has worked on three major projects: Beyond the Burghal Hidage (2005–2008), Landscapes of Governance (2009–2012), and The Place-Names of Shropshire (2013–). His publications include Cultural Transition in the Chilterns and Essex Region, c.350-c.650.

About Dr Stuart Brookes
Stuart is Honorary Senior Lecturer at the UCL Institute of Archaeology and Research Associate of the University of Oxford Faculty of History. His published works focus on comparative landscape studies and the archaeologies of state formation in early medieval England. His most recent book, written with John Baker, is published in March, and is Beyond the Burghal Hidage: Anglo-Saxon civil defence in the Viking Age.

Some suggestions for further reading
(useful but not essential)

Abels, R., Lordship and Military Obligation in Anglo-Saxon England (University of California Press, 1988)
Baker, J. and Brookes, S., Beyond the Burghal Hidage(Brill, 2013)
Halsall, G., Warfare and Society in the Barbarian West, 450-900 (Routledge 2003)
Hill, D. and Rumble, A.R. (eds.), The Defence of Wessex (Manchester University Press, 1996)
Hollister, C.W., Anglo-Saxon Military Institutions: On the Eve of the Norman Conquest (Oxford University Press, 1998 [1962])
Lavelle, R., Alfred's Wars: Sources and Interpretations of Anglo-Saxon Warfare in the Viking Age (Boydell and Brewer, 2010)


Please phone or email to check the availability of places. Study Days are 38 per person, which includes a full day of lectures, access to the NT site, parking, coffee and tea throughout the day, and access to the NT exhibition. Once you have reserved your place please send payment to confirm the booking. For your first booking please complete the application form to ensure that we have recorded your contact details correctly.

Wuffing Education,
4 Hilly Fields,
Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 4DX
tel : 01394 386498

Email cliff AT wuffingeducation.co.uk
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Website www.wuffingeducation.co.uk

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