Image description: Black and white drawing of a hedgehog with its face lifted, snuffing the air after truffling about in the forest litter at its feet. The parts of the forest litter that are identifiable are elm leaves and twigs, oak leaves, and two acorns. I did this post a couple of weeks ago on […]Read more "Hild’s Bynames #3: Little Prickle"
The taxonomic name for the great grey shrike, Lanius excubitor, is Latin for butcher sentinel. Sentinel because of the way shrikes stand tall on top of a post, as both a warning and declaration of territory: they practically shriek vigilance and eagerness to tangle. (They remind me of new bouncers at a club: overready to get into it.) And butcher because they spike their prey—smaller birds, mice, lizards, bees, crickets—on thorns and barbed wire fencing, like feathery little Neroes playing with Christians.Read more "Hild’s bynames #2: Butcher-bird"
Exploring one of Hild’s bynames, freemartin. The first of an occasional series.Read more "Hild’s bynames #1: Freemartin"
While writing both Hild and Menewood I drew dozens of maps to help work out everything from travel routes to weather events to Hild’s thinking to battle tactics. These sketch maps are full of private code and wouldn’t make sense to most readers. But every now and again I like to post one to illustrate a point. So I started […]Read more "Making my own Hild art"
In which I talk about Cadwallon, his origins, faults, and battles—as one giant excuse to play with mapsRead more "Making sense of Cadwallon (or, An excuse to play with maps)"
The first draft of MENEWOOD is finished!!Read more "MENEWOOD!!"
This is a call for contributors, and ideas, to a companion volume to Hild: an accessible guide to the book and its Early Medieval context.Read more "CFP: A Hild Companion"
Today is the anniversary of Hild’s death in 680. I mark it because Hild—and Whitby, and ammonites—have marked my life.Read more "Hild’s feast day"
Last week I spent five days at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC, to attend IONA: Early medieval studies on the islands of the North Atlantic—transformative networks, skills, theories, and methods for the future of the field. If you are an early medievalist, you should go the next one at King’s College London, November 2021.Read more "IONA Vancouver"
In 2017 Charlotte Hedenstierna‐Jonson, Anna Kjellström, Torun Zachrisson et al wrote “A female Viking warrior confirmed by genomics” and kicked off a storm. ow they respond to t heir critics.Read more "Viking warrior women: reassessing Birka grave"
Usually at this time of year I blow up the Christmas tree with FX (one of my favourites so far: a dragon flaming the tree to ash). But 2017 has been a year of too much destruction, so here’s something entirely fun. It makes me grin, anyway.Read more "Dancing Reindeer"
*I was going to link to this post from my personal blog but in the end decided to just repost. Here’s an interesting addition to the debate about the Viking warrior grave in Birka I discussed yesterday. The author, Professor Judith Jesch, makes some good points about the overall gaps in the journal authors’ argument and presentation. Go read […]Read more "More thoughts on women warriors"
A recent paper in American Journal of Physical Anthropology shows that a grave in Viking-age Birka, Sweden, furnished with the material goods of a high-ranking warrior, is that of a female.Read more "A female Viking warrior confirmed by genomics"
For the last year I’ve been lost in a project that’s not Hild-related. And, Lo! That project was successful! I now hold a PhD from Anglia Ruskin University. I am Doctor Griffith.Read more "Doctor Griffith"
An article published 19 January 2016 in Nature Communications, “Iron Age and Anglo-Saxon genomes from East England reveal British migration history,” by Stephan Schiffels et al, estimates that the ancestry of the modern-day East English population is about 38% Anglo-Saxon.Read more "38% of English ancestry derived from Anglo-Saxon migration"