14 October 2020

Archaeology online: In search of the Viking Great Army

In 873, the notorious Viking Great Army attacked a monastery at Repton in Derbyshire, forcing the Mercian king to flee the country and installing a puppet king in his place.

1100 years later, excavations uncovered evidence of the Army’s winter camp along with Scandinavian graves, and a mound covering the remains of nearly 300 people and Viking weapons.

At first it seemed the mass burial contained the Viking army dead – but radiocarbon dates suggested many of them died long before the 9th century. Intent on solving this 40-year old puzzle, Dr Cat Jarman used bioarchaeological methods – forensic analysis of bones and teeth – to analyse their geographical origins and to uncover the truth about the radiocarbon dates.

This online archaeology talk takes a look at the work to re-date Repton and recent fieldwork which has shown that the Scandinavian presence in Derbyshire was much greater than previously assumed, with networks stretching far beyond north-western Europe.

Speaker: Dr Cat Jarman is an archaeologist and author, an Honorary Senior Research Associate at the University of Bristol, Senior adviser to the new Museum of the Viking Age, Oslo and a TEDx speaker. Her new book River Kings, a new history of the Vikings from Scandinavia to the Silk Road, is out in 2021.

This talk is part of Archaeology Online, a new series of monthly digital talks brought to you by Bristol Museums, Bath and Counties Archaeological Society, Bristol and Avon Archaeological Society and Bristol & Gloucestershire Archaeological Society.

Image: © Mark Horton.

How to take part

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