In the aftermath of the recent publication Digging into the Dark Ages: Early Medieval Public Archaeologies which features a wide range of new perspectives on the public archaeology for the Early Middle Ages, I thought it important to celebrate those that promote the study of the 5th-11th centuries AD far and wide beyond the ivory towers of academia. Having inducted Stuart Strong and Adam Parsons into the Archaeodeath Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, here’s the second of a series of blog-posts that introduce researchers doing exciting work in the public arena.

Inducting Dr Cat Jarman

Dr Catrine Jarman is a well-known early career researcher: Honorary Senior Research Associate at the University of Bristol. She is best-known for her work on early medieval burial archaeology. For this, her osteological analyses, stable isotope analysis and fieldwork on the Repton Viking winter camp (#greatheathenhunt) has been published in Antiquity and she has been featured on multiple television documentaries. Moreover, she has a very high profile on social media where she is creating original content on Periscope linked to her Viking-period field visits and fieldwork. As well as pursuing more fieldwork in the UK and Ukraine, Cat has a forthcoming book on the Viking World – River Kingswhich I cannot wait to read. Here’s her speaking at TEDxBath.

In some fashions, Cat is the Tina Weymouth of early medieval research. I refer to the distinctive bassist with Talking Heads of course! What songs make this an appropriate proposal? I’m sure there are many, but given its media-success allusions which chime with Cat’s many successful TV appearances (and especially the idea of creating one’s own TV programmes), the first song I propose features Weymouth playing bass for Talking Heads: “Found a Job”:

Their show gets real high ratings, they think they have a hit.
There might even be a spin off, but they’re not sure ’bout that.
If they ever watch T.V. again, it’d be too soon for them.
Bob never yells about the picture now, he’s having too much fun.

Another apposite tune is “Life During Wartime” given that the song’s martial associations and mortuary lyrics chime with Cat’s Viking archaeological research at Repton;

Heard of some grave sites, out by the highway,
A place where nobody knows

And we should mention the Tom Tom Club’s ‘Genius of Love’ on which Tina both sings and plays bass, just because it’s so darned funky!

So congratulations to Cat for her induction reflecting her multiple contributions to early medieval studies through both original research and public engagement. It is a once in a lifetime award! Check out my interview with her in the Digging into the Dark Ages book! She’s definitely not on a road to nowhere!  I can’t wait for her to take me to the River Kings through her new book! It will be heaven!

Who will appear next in my rock ‘n’ roll early medievalist blog-post series and be appointed to archaeological immortality?