Book Series Studies in the Early Middle Ages, vol. 24

Early Medieval Northumbria

Kingdoms and Communities, AD 450-1100

David Petts, Sam Turner (eds)

  • Pages: 332 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:66 b/w, 6 col., 20 tables b/w.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2012

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-52822-9
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-53981-2
  • E-book
  • Available

This fascinating volume brings together essays which deploy a variety of historical methods in order to explore the political, economic, social, and cultural history of the Anglo kingdom of Northumbria, which had a major impact on medieval Europe.


"Overall, it is a useful book for anyone interested in early medieval societies and archaeology, (...)." (Karen Louise Jolly, in: The Medieval Review, 13.04.03)


Responding to renewed interest in the powerful early medieval kingdom of Northumbria, this volume uses evidence drawn from archaeology, documentary history, place-names, and artistic works to produce an unashamedly cross-disciplinary body of scholarship that addresses all aspects of Northumbria’s past. Northumbria at its peak stretched from the River Humber to the Scottish highlands and westwards to the Irish Sea, producing saints, kings, and scholars with contacts across Europe, from Scandinavia, Ireland, and Francia to Rome itself. This volume unites papers on all aspects of this major European power of its day, from its origins in the fifth and sixth centuries from British and Anglo-Saxon chiefdoms, through its ‘Golden Age’ as eighth-century Europe’s intellectual powerhouse, to its role as a key element of an international Viking kingdom. Where traditional scholarship has centred on the ecclesiastical high culture of the age of Bede, this work examines the kingdom’s social and economic life and its origins and decline as well. There is a stress on approaching established bodies of material from new perspectives and engaging with wider debates in the field, including monumentality, the development of kingships, and the evolution of the early Church. Areas investigated include the kingdom’s political history, its economy and society, and its wider place within Europe. Its unique artistic legacy, in the form of illuminated manuscripts and a rich sculptural tradition, is also explored.



List of Contributors

List of Illustrations

Introduction: Northumbrian Communities - DAVID PETTS AND SAM TURNER

Part 1. Regions and Places

Military Communities and Transformation of the Frontier from the Fourth to the Sixth Centuries - ROB COLLINS

Bernician Transitions: Place-Names and Archaeology - MARK WOOD

Recent Research into Early Medieval York and its Hinterland - R. A. HALL

Northumbria in the West: Considering Interaction Through Monumentality - NICOLA J. TOOP

Thinking about Western Northumbria - FELICITY H. CLARK

Settlement, Landscape, and Economy in Early Medieval Northumbria: The Contribution of Portable Antiquities - JULIAN D. RICHARDS AND JOHN NAYLOR

Local Churches and the Conquest of the North: Elite Patronage and Identity in Saxo-Norman Northumbria - ALEKSANDRA McCLAIN


Part 2. Identities and Material Culture

Intellectual Communities in Early Northumbria - MARTIN CARVER

Yeavering and Bernician Kingship: A Review of Debate on the Hybrid Culture Thesis - COLM O’BRIEN

The Recursive Structuring of Space: Socio-political and Religious Performance in the Hall - JENNY WALKER

Social and Biological Status in the Bowl Hole Early Medieval Burial Ground, Bamburgh, Northumberland - SARAH GROVES

‘Excavating’ Northumbrian Manuscripts: Reappraising Regionalism in Insular Manuscript Production - MICHELLE P. BROWN

Re-evaluating Early Medieval Northumbrian Contacts and the ‘Coastal Highway’ - CHRISTOPHER FERGUSON

A Study in Regionality: Hair Combs and Bone/Antler Craft in North-east England c. AD 800–1100 - STEVEN P. ASHBY