Historian Dr Eleanor Barraclough travels through some of Britain’s most beautiful landscapes to reveal the true story of the mysterious British tribes often called the Celts.

Historian Dr Eleanor Barraclough travels through some of Britain’s most beautiful landscapes – Hadrian’s Wall, the Lake District and Offa’s Dyke – in search of new evidence to reveal the true story of the mysterious ancient British tribes often called the Celts. According to the official history books, the Celts were defeated and pushed to the edges of Britain by waves of Roman and Anglo Saxon invaders. However, a growing body of evidence suggests this is not the full story. To help give the Celts back their proper place in our history, Eleanor examines freshly discovered treasures, new archaeological evidence from real photographs and clues hidden in ancient poetry to reveal a fresh narrative – one that suggests the relationship between our ancient British ancestors and those who came to conquer them was much less repressive, and far more co-operative, than we have thought.

Thrilled to be a judge for the Costa Book Awards. I’m judging the Biography Prize — the most wonderfully life-affirming way to weather the storms of 2020. 

Thrilled to be a judge for the Costa Book Awards. I’m judging the Biography Prize — the most wonderfully life-affirming way to weather the storms of 2020. 

Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough explores some of the truths behind the Vikings’ lurid reputation, and shows the evidence to be found in the rare documents on display in the British Library.

“Never before has such a terror appeared in Britain as we have suffered from a pagan race, nor was it thought that such an inroad from the sea could be made,” wrote the Anglo-Saxon scholar Alcuin, in response to the first major Viking raid on Lindisfarne. From these notorious early attacks at the end of the 8th century to all-out war in the time of Alfred; from the extortion of ‘Danegeld’ in the reign of Æthelstan to two decades of rule under Cnut, the Scandinavian impact on Anglo-Saxon culture and politics was enormous. In a wide-ranging overview, Eleanor Barraclough explores some of the truths behind the Vikings’ lurid reputation, and shows the evidence to be found in the rare documents on display in the British Library.

I’m one of the presenters of Radio 3’s flagship arts and culture programme, which explores the ideas shaping our lives today – with artists and thinkers in debates and interviews.

I’m one of the presenters of Radio 3’s flagship arts and culture programme, which explores the ideas shaping our lives today – with artists and thinkers in debates and interviews.

People's Landscapes

Formed thousands of years ago by a flood of water from a melting glacier and later occupied by Viking raiders, Northey Island is a place full of fascinating stories. In this episode, Dr Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough explores how a violent land grab between the Vikings and the Anglo-Saxons resulted in a mashup of cultures, which can still be seen today.

Formed thousands of years ago by a flood of water from a melting glacier and later occupied by Viking raiders, Northey Island is a place full of fascinating stories. In this episode, Dr Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough explores how a violent land grab between the Vikings and the Anglo-Saxons resulted in a mashup of cultures, which can still be seen today.

What happens in the world’s most northerly town when the permafrost defrosts? Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough visits Svalbard to find out.

What happens in the world’s most northerly town when the permafrost de-frosts? Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough visits Svalbard to find out. Longyearbyen, a three hour flight north of Oslo, is a mining town of just 2000 people, but a pretty high proportion of them are research scientists. They cluster in this relatively sheltered corner of the enormous Svalbard archipelago to study the geology and wildlife. As the Arctic rapidly warms nature is changing with it and there’s nowhere better to study the impacts. Can Arctic plant species survive a warmer, wetter climate? Can reindeer, fox and polar bear adapt to the new conditions? And how are the people enjoying the relatively balmy new climate? Nordic scholar, Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough meets the stoical residents and experiences the 24 hour darkness of the Arctic winter for herself.

Oxford University Press, 2016

In the dying days of the eighth century, the Vikings erupted onto the international stage with brutal raids and slaughter. But this is far from the whole story of medieval Norse activities abroad. The Norse travelled to all corners of the medieval world and beyond; north to the wastelands of Arctic Scandinavia, south to the politically turbulent heartlands of medieval Christendom, west across the wild seas to Greenland and the fringes of the North American continent, and east down the Russian waterways, trading silver, skins, and slaves. Beyond the Northlands explores this world through the stories that the Norse told about themselves in their own words, through the Old Norse-Icelandic sagas.