Celebrity bioarchaeologist Dr Cat Jarman kicks off this year’s Repton Literary Festival with a talk about the unique finds during her recent dig in the village, shedding new light on Viking life in 9th century Repton.

Following up her BBC TV Digging for Britain and Channel 4 TV’s Britain’s Viking Graveyard programmes she explores the arrival of the Great Heathen Army of Vikings which settled for a winter in Repton in 873 AD.  She will talk about the legendary Repton Warrior buried next to another Viking in the UK’s most famous Viking grave.

She has been researching in Repton for several years using forensic techniques like isotope analysis, carbon dating, and DNA extraction on human remains to untangle the experiences of past people from broader historical narratives.

Dr Cat Jarman’s take on bioarchaeology is very personal, revealing the possible stories behind her finds. She is an expert on Viking women, which ties her talk in with one of the main festival themes – ‘exceptional women’.  Her book, The River Kings, will be published by HarperCollins in 2020.

“There is something for everyone at this year’s festival,” says programme director John Cavey. “History and women feature strongly throughout but there is jazz music, poetry, crime drama, interviews with leading actors and even a debate about truth and lies.  Add to that remarkable medical stories, a bit of Halloween horror and a children’s writing competition and you begin to get a flavour of what’s in store between the 25th and 27th October, right here on your doorstep.”

Other talks in the history strand include an examination of Winston Churchill - whether he was a hero or a villain - and a look at the life of women’s emancipation campaigner Sylvia Pankhurst.

Details of all events are available via the website where tickets for all performances are still on sale.

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