Adventures in Bookland: The Sword in Anglo-Saxon England by Hilda Ellis Davidson
This might be a relatively venerable work (first published in 1962, which makes it slightly older than me!) but it remains just as relevant – in its fairly specialised area – as ever. Hilda Ellis Davidson was an extraordinarily accomplished scholar, fluent in Old Norse, Latin, German, Russian, Icelandic, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian, who was the first to combine literary and historical knowledge with archaeological evidence. The Sword in Anglo-Saxon England is a perfect example of this approach, combining a thorough examination of the archaeological evidence at the time with a truly broad investigation of the literary sources. As such, it serves as a model for the best sort of historical investigation and while the archaeology may now have more examples, the literary evidence has not changed and, as a mark of the excellence of her work, Davidson’s book remains relevant, interesting and seminal today. A landmark in Anglo-Saxon studies.