My PhD project (2012 – 2017) revisits the archaeological evidence from Repton in Derbyshire, combining new bioarchaeological techniques with further excavations to reassess the extent and nature of the presence of the 9th century Viking Great Army, and subsequent Scandinavian settlers. Working closely with the director of the original excavations in Repton, Prof Martin Biddle, I am carrying out an extensive programme of isotopic analyses of human remains from the site, and have reassessed the original radiocarbon dating evidence. I am also collaborating with researchers from UC Santa Cruz and the Max Planck Institute in Jena on genome-wide sequencing of ancient DNA from Repton samples. In addition, I am reassessing some of the unpublished artefacts from Repton, and have directed new excavations in the Repton vicarage garden with my supervisor Prof Mark Horton. The overall aim of my research is to help answer some of the unresolved questions from the original work in Repton. In particular, I am studying whether the human remains found in the charnel mound belong to members of the great army, and whether graves dating to the late ninth and 10th centuries could have belonged to subsequent Scandinavian settlers. On a wider scale, this research will inform our understanding of the complex issues of identity formation in Viking Age Derbyshire.
My studentship at the University of Bristol is funded by the AHRC, and I have received further funding for analytical costs from NERC, the Society for Church Archaeology, and the Council for British Archaeology East Midlands, and from a private donor.