Institute of Archaeology


Beyond the Burghal Hidage

Beyond the Burghal Hidage: Anglo-Saxon Civil Defence in the Viking Age was a three-year project funded by the Leverhulme Trust from 2005-8.

It aimed to provide the first systematic study of Anglo-Saxon military organisation and its landscape context for the period c.850-1066, drawing on the whole range of sources available including archaeology, place-names, landscape and documents.

At a national scale the ASCD project team brought together and assessed all evidence from excavated major fortifications and related sites, 'military' place-name elements, and other evidence from documentary sources.

This survey was complemented by detailed regional analyses of the local landscape context of civil defence networks, and their relationship to settlement, local topography, land-ownership and administration over time.

The research, which is part of the Early Medieval Atlas, has generated scholarly publications, two major monographs, and a database to be archived with the Archaeology Data Service.

Related outputs

  • Beyond the Burghal Hidage. Anglo-Saxon Civil Defence in the Viking Age by John Baker and Stuart Brookes (Brill, 2013)
  • Landscapes of Defence in Early Medieval Europe, edited by John Baker, Stuart Brookes and Andrew Reynolds (Brepols, 2013)
  • A series of articles in relevant, peer-reviewed journals and book chapters including:

    • Baker, J. 2013. 'The language of Anglo-Saxon defence', in J. Baker, S. Brookes and A. Reynolds (eds), Landscapes of Defence in Early Medieval Europe, Turnhout: Brepols
    • Baker, J. 2012. 'What makes a stronghold? Reference to construction materials in place-names in OE fæsten, burh and (ge)weorc', in R. Jones and S. Semple (eds), Sense of Place in Anglo-Saxon England, Donington: Shaun Tyas, 316-33.
    • Baker, J. 2011. 'Warriors and watchmen: place-names and Anglo-Saxon civil defence', Medieval Archaeology 55:258-67
    • Baker, J. 2008. 'Old English fæsten', in ed. O. Padell and D. Parsons, A Commodity of Good Names: Essays in Honour of Margaret Gelling, Donington: Shaun Tyas, 333-44
    • Baker, J. and Brookes, S.J.  2013. Monumentalising the political landscape: a special class of Anglo-Saxon assembly-sites. Antiquaries Journal 94, 1-16
    • Baker, J. and Brookes, S.J. 2012. Fulham 878-9: a new consideration of Viking manoeuvres. Viking and Medieval Scandinavia 8
    • Baker, J. and Brookes, S.J.  2011. From frontier to border: the evolution of northern West Saxon territorial delineation in the ninth and tenth centuries. Anglo-Saxon Studies in Archaeology and History 17, 108-23
    • Reynolds, A. and Brookes, S. 2013. Anglo-Saxon civil defence in the localities: a case study of the Avebury region. In Reynolds, A.J. and Webster, L. (eds.) Early Art and Archaeology in the Northern World: Studies in Honour of James Graham-Campbell. Leiden: Brill, 561-606.
    • Brookes, S.J. 2013. Mapping Anglo-Saxon Civil Defence. In Baker, J., Brookes, S.J., and Reynolds, A.J (eds.) Landscapes of Defence in Early Medieval Europe. Turnhout: Brepols
    • Brookes, S.J. 2013. Viking-age Kent, c. 800-1042. In Coulson, I., Richardson, A. and Weekes, J. (eds.) Early Medieval Kent, AD800-1220. Woodbridge: Boydell
    • Baker, J. and Brookes, S.J. 2013. Overseeing the sea: some West Saxon responses to waterborne threats in the South-East. In Klein, S., Lewis, S. & Shipper, B. (eds.) The Maritime World of the Anglo-Saxons.
    • Baker, J. and Brookes, S.J. 2013. The Military Infrastructure of Viking-Age Wessex: Mustering, Mobilisation and Communications. In Lavelle, R. and S. Roffey (eds.) Danes in Wessex: The Scandinavian Impact on Southern England, c.800-c.1100. Oxford: Oxbow
    • Baker, J. and Brookes, S.J.  2013. Governance at the Anglo-Scandinavian interface: hundredal organisation in the southern Danelaw. Journal of the North Atlantic Special Issue: The Assembly Project: Meeting Places in Northern Europe AD 400-1500.
    • Baker, J., Brookes, S.J. and Reynolds, A. Beacons and Lookouts. In Clegg Hyer, M. and Owen-Crocker, G. (eds.) Built Environment of Anglo-Saxon England.
  • An ADS special collection database that provides for non-specialist access to the project's results, but also specialist access to the ASCDV dataset.