Vikings in South Derbyshire

Most people with an interest in archaeology, or who have been watching ‘The Last Kingdom’ on the telly, will have heard of the Viking Great Heathen Army which ravaged England in the ninth century. Fewer people may know that the Army overwintered in South Derbyshire, at Repton, in A.D. 873-4. It is unlikely that all the Vikings will have stayed in the camp all winter, as foraging parties would have been sent up and down the river Trent, and they will have wanted to keep an eye on the approaches to Repton to warn of any possible attacks.

One of the sites which I have been metal detecting on is a few miles upstream from Repton, on the opposite side of the river from the Anglo-Saxon site at Catholme, near to a place where the river is shallow enough to be forded, and from which there are good views of the Roman road where it crosses the river at Wychnor Bridge, and from which, on a clear day, you can see Tamworth. These factors would make it a good place for lookouts to be stationed.

So might this 8th century Arabic coin (PUBLIC-458D27) that I found on the site have been dropped by one of Ivar the Boneless’s lads?

Dirham of the Umayyads dating to AD 741-742
Dirham of the Umayyads dating to AD 741-742 (PUBLIC-458D27). Copyright: Roger Thomas. License: CC BY.


I’d like to think so.

The coin is currently on display in Derbyshire Unearthed, an exhibition at Derby Museum and Art Gallery about Treasure and the Portable Antiquities Scheme.