Vikings were "model immigrants"

A three-day conference at Cambridge University may shake up traditional views of Vikings. The new study will show that, far from marauding barbarians, the Norse were "more cultured settlers who offered a 'good historical model' of immigrant assimilation."

The conference, entitled Between the Islands, will look at Viking settlement from the 9th through 13th centuries. Dr Máire Ní Mhaonaigh, who is co-organising the conference, said it was not a simple case of the Vikings coming and conquering. There was a "cross-fertilisation" of practices, including Anglo-Saxon communities adopting Norse names. "They were mutually transformed in the process, it was two-way interaction," she said. "Those who settled had to become different, and adapt to the society around them and learn to communicate with each other."