John’s Vikings get the spotlight in BBC documentary

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Human remains of Vikings discovered under St John’s, thought to have been violently killed in a campaign of ethnic cleansing, will feature in the BBC TV series “Digging for Britain” later this year.

As reported by Cherwell last Michaelmas, up to 38 young male bodies were found in 2008 by builders who were laying the foundations for the recently opened Kendrew Quadrangle.

Now 360 Production, who are to produce “Digging for Britain”, have announced that they will put the spotlight on Oxford in the second episode of a four-part series to be aired in early September.

Titled ‘Invaders’, it will include a segment focusing on the archaeological findings under John’s, and include an interview with Ceri Falys, the osteoarchaeologist leading the research project.

An assistant producer of Digging for Britain told Cherwell that the site is crucial, saying, “it is the best evidence archaeology has to offer so far to show that the St Brices Day Massacre (described in various historical sources) actually happened.’ 

Archaeology and Anthropology students at John’s seem keen on the attention the site is receiving. “[The burial site] reminds us that when we talk about the past, we are talking not only about events but also people and the lives they led as individuals”, said second-year Gideon Freud.

Second-year Roberta Allport pointed out that the find offers us a chance to see, free from human bias, the “true scope and implications” of the massacre.

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