What did the Angles leave behind? New perspectives on the Danevirke hinterland in the early Middle Ages

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearch

The migration of Angles, Saxons and Jutes to Britain has been subjected to thorough study, but the extent and causes of the migration still remain rather open questions. The Venerable Bede in ca. 731 AD famously mentioned that the 'Angulus' homeland of the Angles was 'desertus' to his own present day. But the level of desertion is questionable – as is the duration of the alleged desertion.

Previous research within archaeology, history, onomastics and palynology suggests that the Angeln region was home to a rather sparse population from the 6th to the 8th centuries. But recent archaeological excavations have back-dated the formidable fortifications of the Danevirke, indicating construction and usage stretching from the 5th to the 12th century, contradicting the idea of a deserted region.

Suggestions have been made that the region was conquered by invaders from the north in the 5th century and that the construction of the Danevirke could reflect a consolidation of a new southern border. Though still speculative, this theory matches a change in weapon sacrifices found in the northern parts of the region.

The new finds and theories call for renewed studies of the Danevirke hinterland. The presentation will outline a planned project reconstructing the 5th to 11th century settlement history of the area between the Danevirke to the south and the somewhat earlier Olgerdiget fortification to the north. Through settlement archaeology, place name research and systematic detector surveys the project will seek to draw conclusions about the society that stood behind the building, maintenance and the defense of the Danevirke.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date29 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2018
EventRoyal Geographical Society Annual International Conference 2018 - Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom
Duration: 28 Aug 201831 Aug 2018


ConferenceRoyal Geographical Society Annual International Conference 2018
LocationCardiff University
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


ID: 202242275