Research Interests

I am an early medieval historian, with a particular interest in the social dynamics of the Viking Age. My research centres on the social history, networks and dynamics of the Viking Age (CE 800-1100).

My doctoral research, funded by an ORSAS Scholarship, was an ambitious interdisciplinary study of the functioning of kinship relations in the processes of migration, settlement and the creation of the Viking diaspora. I used the lens of kinship relations to test and establish – for the first time – the Norse North Atlantic as a socially functioning diaspora. I use an inter-disciplinary approach, drawing on the disciplines of history, anthropology and archaeology, alongside varied theoretical approaches (memory, oral history, migration, diaspora, social networks) to illuminate kinship relations in the Norse communities scattered across the North Atlantic.

My current work for this project explores Viking Age migration to the British Isles. My research project, Remembering England in the Viking Diaspora, looks at the place of England in the Viking diaspora and its memorialisation. Diverse evidence suggests substantial Scandinavian settlement in England, but social ties central to the diaspora are almost invisible. Cultural products and vessels of social memory (sagas, skaldic poetry) about England are deemed to be ‘lost’. This project will aim to explain these ‘lost’ diasporic links with England in contrast to the clearer relations with the rest of the British Isles.  The project focusses especially on elite identity and cultural memory in seeking to understand why England became ‘lost’ in Viking diasporic memory.

Another aspect of my research has grown out of a previous project: the AHRC 'Languages, Myths and Finds' project. As part of the Cleveland team, I was part of the group that brought to light a new Scandinavian runic inscription found in the Tees Valley. Only the eighteenth in England, the runestone hints at connections between this part of the North-East and the Irish Sea Vikings, as well as the wider diaspora. My research in this area investigates the processes of migration, settlement and assimilation in this region, their role in creating the region’s unique cultural identity and illuminates its connections with the wider Viking diaspora.

I am concurrently developing a larger project to study friendship relations in medieval Iceland from the perspectives of social network formation and mobilisation.

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