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Department of Archaeology

Staff

Publication details for Prof Sarah Semple

Skinner, A. T. & Semple, S. (2015). Assembly Mounds in the Danelaw: Place-name and Archaeological Evidence in the Historic Landscape. Journal of the North Atlantic 8(sp8): 115-133.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

The mound as a focus for early medieval assembly is found widely throughout Northern Europe in the first millennium AD. Some have argued such features are evidence of early practices situated around places of ancestral importance, others that an elite need for legitimate power drove such adoptions. Elsewhere evidence for purpose-built mounds suggests they were intrinsic to the staging of events at an assembly and could be manufactured if needed. This paper builds on the results presented in the Ph.D. thesis of the first author. Here we take up the issue of meeting mounds, focusing on their role as sites of assembly in the Danelaw. This region of northern and eastern England was first documented in the early 11th century as an area subject to conquest and colonization from Scandinavia in the 9th century and beyond. The county of Yorkshire forms a case study within which we explore the use of the mound for assembly purposes, the types of monuments selected, the origins of these monuments and the activity at them, and finally the possible Scandinavian influences on assembly practices in the region.

Notes

Volume 8 Special Volume 8: Debating the Thing in the North II: Selected Papers from Workshops Organized by the Assembly Project