Follow an epic story of the Viking Age that traces the historical trail of an ancient piece of jewelry found in a Viking grave in England to its origins thousands of miles east in India.
An acclaimed bioarchaeologist, Catrine Jarman has used cutting-edge forensic techniques to spark her investigation into the history of the Vikings who came to rest in British soil. By examining teeth that are now over one thousand years old, she can determine childhood diet—and thereby where a person was likely born. With radiocarbon dating, she can ascertain a death-date down to the range of a few years. And her research offers enlightening new visions of the roles of women and children in Viking culture.
Three years ago, a Carnelian bead came into her temporary possession. River Kings sees her trace the path of this ancient piece of jewelry back to eighth-century Baghdad and India, discovering along the way that the Vikings’ route was far more varied than we might think—that with them came people from the Middle East, not just Scandinavia, and that the reason for this unexpected integration between the Eastern and Western worlds may well have been a slave trade running through the Silk Road, all the way to Britain.
Told as a riveting history of the Vikings and the methods we use to understand them, this is a major reassessment of the fierce, often-mythologized voyagers of the North—and of the global medieval world as we know it.
Cat Jarman, PhD, is a bioarchaeologist and field archaeologist specializing in the Viking Age and Viking women. She uses forensic techniques like isotope analysis, carbon dating, and DNA analysis on human remains to untangle the experiences of past people from broader historical narratives. Dr. Jarman has contributed to numerous television documentaries as both an on-screen expert and historical consultant, including programs for the BBC, History Chanel, Discovery, among others. She lives in Britain.
352 pages. 8 pages of color photos.
Hardcover. 9 in H | 6 in W