We find that it is possible to 14C-date these bones of mixed marine and terrestrial origin precisely when proper correction for the marine reservoir effect (the 14C age difference between terrestrial and marine organ-isms) is taken into account.
The campsite, located in the small Derbyshire village of Repton, has been known since the 1970s, but these new discoveries have found evidence over a much larger area, for workshops and ship repairs.
The results will be aired on Digging for Britain on BBC Four at 9pm (GMT) on Wednesday, November 22.
The remains were placed in a deliberately damaged Saxon building along with Viking weapons and artefacts.
The building also contained evidence of use as a workshop by the Vikings before it was converted into a charnel house.
But previous radiocarbon dates suggested many of the bones dated to the 7centuries, meaning they could not belong to the Viking army.
Using new radiocarbon dates and modern isotope data to account for marine food consumption, Cat’s research has revealed that the remains do, in fact, all fit a date of 873 after all and are therefore completely consistent with a burial of Viking battle dead.But could there be a forensic flaw in measuring carbon-14 dates using conventional methodology?Could dates assigned by that method be vulnerable to faulty assumptions that render them invalid? The age assignment for certain Viking bones caused a decades-long controversy until the carbon-14 methodology used to date them was recently exposed for its flawed assumptions.The choice of Repton was partly because of its location on the river Trent, but also the location of a monastery that housed the remains of several Mercian kings.In 1975, archaeologists, led by Professor Martin Biddle and Birthe Kjølbye-Biddle, uncovered a ‘D’ shaped enclosure on the banks of the Trent, covering around 1.5 hectares that was thought to be the Viking camp.Geophysics, including ground penetrating radar, revealed structures including paths and possible temporary buildings.