Unearthed mass grave was likely burial site for Viking army members

A mass grave unearthed in Derbyshire may actually be a burial site for members of the viking great army.

Several viking graves & a charnel deposit of nearly 300 people were excavated in the 70s & 80s at St. Wystan’s Church in Repton.

In the 7th century, the parish was a double monastery for men and women.

Radiocarbon dating suggested the bones were gathered over several centuries so scientists originally thought they came from the monastic cemeteries.

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Mass grave unearthed in Derbyshire
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Mass grave unearthed in Derbyshire

Bones from the Repton charnel during excavations

(Photo: Mark Horton)

Photograph of the juvenile grave

(Photo: Martin Biddle)

(Photo: Martin Biddle)

Overview of the charnel burial from the original excavations

(Photo: Martin Biddle)

One of the female skulls from the Repton charnel

(Photo: Cat Jarman, University of Bristol)

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However, new research dates the bones to the late 9th century when the Viking Great Army wintered there & drove out the king of Mercia.

A bioarchaeologist says carbon from seafood they ate made the bones seem older.

The remains of four people, aged eight to 18, were also found in a single grave near the deposit, with a sheep jaw and a potential grave marker suggesting they were sacrifices sent to join the warriors into the afterlife.

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