This talk will focus on a largely understudied area of Early Medieval North Lincolnshire: the Isle of Axholme. Now but farmland, Axholme (or Haxeholm) was once a series of islands jutting out of the Humber Wash marshlands. In the Viking Age, these islands were an enclave of piratical and commercial activity, influenced by the brilliant skill and craftsmanship of new Scandinavian migrants.
This talk will focus on primarily the archaeological evidence from the Isle between the years 850-1066, highlighting the immediate and long-term impact Scandinavian traders and makers had on this swampy archipelago. But the historical record and wider evidence from Flixborough will also be considered. The Isle may have been one of the first places raided in the entire Viking Age. It could have even been the site of a later Viking army camp. Cnut The Great may have even visited here when rallying his forces at Gainsborough. It is in the Isle of Axholme when the last flame of the Viking Age was extinguished in 1069 during the Harrying Of The North.
Alex Harvey is the author of Riddles Of The Isle, an Early Medieval analysis of the Isle of Axholme and the first book of its kind for the local area. He works for York Museums Trust and is currently reading for his PhD at the University of York, after having studied there for his MA and BA since 2018. Alex also has a second book releasing in 2024, entitled Forgotten Vikings: New Approaches To The Viking Age, published by Amberley.