Monday, March 26, 2012

Vikings: Raiders, Traders and Settlers - Online Course

University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education
Mon 14 May to Fri 27 Jul 2012

Ravagers, despoilers, pagans, heathens - the Vikings are usually regarded as bloodthirsty seafaring pirates, whose impact on Europe was one of fear and terror. As they plundered the British Isles and the north Atlantic, these pagan invaders were seen by their Christian victims as a visitation from God.

Yet the Vikings were also traders, settlers and farmers with a highly developed artistic culture and legal system. Their network of trade routes stretching from Greenland to Byzantium and their settlements, resulted in the creation of the Duchy of Normandy in France, the foundation of the Kingdom of Russia in Kiev and Novgorod as well as the development of Irish towns including Cork, Dublin and Limerick.

This course will use recent findings from archaeology together with documentary records, to examine these varied aspects of the Viking world and to give a detailed and balanced view of this fascinating period.

Friday, March 2, 2012


Saturday, 24th March 2012

The prehistoric day trip to Maiden Castle and Dorchester will be led by Scott McCracken, who many of you know.

We will visit the multivallate hill-fort of Maiden Castle in the morning and then go to the prehistoric gallery to see the finds from the site at Dorset County Museum in the afternoon.  Many of these finds are from the early thirties excavation on Maiden Castle, led by Sir Mortimer Wheeler.

Originally, C.350BC this hill-fort was univallate with a rampart enclosing the eastern knoll, under which there was evidence of neolithic construction in the form of a causewayed enclosure.  More than hundred years later the hill-fort was more than doubled its enclosed area by extending the single rampart to enclose the western knoll.  As now, some 47 acres were enclosed.  By C.100BC the complex maze of ramparts and defences visible today would have been in place.  Wheeler’s excavations provided evidence of round houses and occupation within the ramparts as well as evidence from bodies resulting from Vespasian’s attack on Maiden Castle in 44AD.  The foundations of a late 4th century Roman-Celtic Temple can be located at the eastern end of the hill-fort.

You can find further details here...