River Kings: A New History of the Vikings from Scandinavia to the Silk Roads


Acclaimed bioarchaeologist Dr. Jarman uses cutting-edge forensic techniques to investigate the history of the Vikings who landed on British soil over 1,000 years ago. By examining ancient Viking teeth and bones with radiocarbon dating, she can ascertain childhood diet as well as birthdate and death date, down to a range of a few years.

In 2017, a particular carnelian bead came into her possession. River Kings follows Dr. Jarman as she traces the path of this ancient piece of jewelry back to 8th-century India. Along the way, she discovers that the Viking route to England was far more varied than we previously thought; with them came people from the Middle East, not just from Scandinavia. The reason for this unexpected interaction between the East and West may well have been a slave trade running through the Silk Road, all the way to Britain.

A riveting history of the Vikings and the modern methods we use to understand them, River Kings 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 will transform the way you think about the Vikings.”

Dan Snow, historian and television presenter

“A bead was discovered in a Viking warrior’s grave, and that discovery led Cat Jarman on an amazing journey which is described in this extraordinary story. That bead, in Cat Jarman’s hands, taught me more about the Vikings than a score of history books. River Kings is an astonishing and compelling triumph!”

Bernard Cornwell, New York Times bestselling author 

Pick up your copy of River Kings from Pegasus Books, Amazon or your favorite book store.

About the Author:

River Kings Cat-Jarman

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 Channel, and Discovery, among others. She lives in Britain.

Connect with Dr. Jarman on Twitter (@CatJarman)



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