Land assessment and military organisation in the Norse settlements in Scotland, c.900 - 1266 AD
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This thesis examines the origins and purpose of the land assessment units known as ouncelands and pennylands, known from those areas of Scotland which came under Norse rule prior to the Treaty of Perth in 1266. The study is interdisciplinary.. drawing on archaeological, toponymic and numismatic material as well as on documentary evidence. The extent to which the ounceland and pennyland units may be based on pre-Norse systems of assessment is considered, as is the probability of their introduction as an offshoot of the Norwegian lei angr (ship levy) system, as has previously been argued. The broader European context for the development of land assessment and military obligation is also briefly discussed. The conclusions of the thesis are that the ounceland assessment may have been introduced as early as the 10th-11th centuries, while the pennyland assessment was probably introduced in the mid-11th century. Both assessment units appear to have been superimposed onto pre-Norse land divisions, at least in some areas of the Norse settlements in Scotland. This dating would put the development of assessment systems in Norse Scotland later than much of Europe, but earlier than most of Scandinavia.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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