Britain's Viking Graveyard

Britain's Viking Graveyard
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Review

In the middle of the ninth century, Britain was invaded. It wasn’t the first time the Vikings had landed here, but this was no raiding party – this time they were here to stay. Rowing their longboats along the river network through the heart of England, they arrived at Repton, in Derbyshire, the religious heart of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia, and settled in.

In this documentary, first shown last Easter, archaeologists Dr Cat Jarman and Prof Mark Horton (whom you may recall from Time Team) are sifting through the evidence and using the latest technology to find out more. Most of this evidence comes from bones – lots of them. “One felt this crunch, crunch, crunch as one passed across this sea of human debris,” says Horton; he was part of the team that uncovered of the remains of some 264 individuals (including at least 20 women) in the village churchyard in the 70s.

This is nitty-gritty archaeology, where the smallest finds can reap the largest rewards; the pair are positively giddy when they uncover a small, shaped lump of lead that has major significance.

Summary

Documentary exploring the discovery of a Viking mass grave in a vicarage garden in Derbyshire. Archaeologists believe this may be the last resting place of a vast army of thousands of warriors that invaded Britain in the ninth century, but left very little trace of their presence. Examination of the remains uncovers evidence of female warriors among the army, and the story of a king who was reunited with his son in death.

Cast & Crew

Director Peter Gauvain
Executive Producer Ian Duncan
Producer Terry Black
Producer Peter Gauvain
Documentary