Down by the River: Exploring the Logistics of Viking Encampment across Atlantic Europe


  • Christian Cooijmans



Like any other medieval mariner, itinerant viking hosts would regularly have made their way ashore to regroup and reinforce their constituent craft and crews. Accordingly, historical and archaeological records from across Atlantic Europe attest to various waterside encampments having been established during overseas viking campaigns. The everyday practical operation of these camps remains largely underexplored, however, maintaining long-standing impressions that these were relatively dormant hideouts, principally used to intersperse bouts of conflict or to wait out the winter. Bringing together the interdisciplinary evidence for viking encampment from Ireland, England, and the Frankish realm, this study provides a more pronounced picture of the overall logistics involved in establishing and maintaining sites like these. Focusing on the themes of sustenance, security, industry, and commerce, it affirms that the encampments played host to an intricate, adaptive system of logistical (inter)relationships, which contributed to the overall sustainability of the early
viking phenomenon.






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