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For the Love of ‘Bad, Foreign Habits’: Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian Cultural Development and Identity Differentiation from 750 to 950 CE


In this thesis, I will focus on the topic of cultural interactions between Scandinavians and Anglo-Saxons during the first half of the “Viking Age” --from approximately 800-950 CE. This period generally corresponds to the “Settlement Period”1 of 850-950 for this is the era in which Scandinavian raids were increasingly accompanied with Scandinavian settlement within the eastern Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. I will highlight many manifestations of these prolonged cultural interactions present within items of material culture dated between the eighth and tenth centuries. Through the presentation of these artifacts in conversation with contemporary textual sources, I aim to establish a conceptualization of cultural hybridity that occurred in this period. Moving from a broad overview of this hybridity, I will highlight specifically religious examples of material culture to illustrate the development of a cultural cross-fertilization from social interactions between Anglo-Saxons living in eastern kingdoms with the incoming Scandinavian raiders and later settlers. Then shifting from a primary focus on material objects, this research will then integrate the contemporary textual sources as a means of formalizing conceptions of identity assumption and how that reflects the significance of cultural parameters.

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