What is the Jorvik Viking Centre?
The Jorvik Viking Centre, located in the historic city of York, England, is a museum dedicated to showcasing the history and culture of the Viking people.
The museum is built on the site of a former Viking settlement, which was discovered during an archaeological excavation in the 1970s. Today, visitors can actually see the remains of the dig beneath their feet as they wander through the Jorvik Viking Centre.
Excavating the Site of the Jorvik Viking Centre
The excavation, which was conducted between 1976-1981 by the York Archaeological Trust, uncovered the remains of a Viking village that had been buried beneath the city for over 1,000 years.
The excavations revealed a wealth of information about life in the Viking Age, including the layout of the village, the characteristics of their buildings and homes, and the everyday objects that were used by the Viking people.
Based on the findings of the excavation, the Jorvik Viking Centre was built to recreate the Viking village as it would have looked during the Viking Age.
Inside the Jorvik Viking Centre
The museum offers visitors the opportunity to explore the Viking village and learn about daily life in the Viking Age. Visitors can see reconstructions of Viking houses and discover some of the world’s rarest Viking artefacts, found during the archaeological excavations, including tools, jewellery, and everyday objects. There is even a fossilised Viking poo!
The museum also features two important exhibits and displays that showcase different aspects of Viking history and culture. These include the "Viking Crafts" exhibit, which demonstrates various skills and crafts important to the Viking economy, and the "Viking Warriors" exhibit, which explores the weapons, armour, and tactics used by the Viking warriors.
The Jorvik Viking Experience
One of the highlights of the Jorvik Viking Centre is the "Jorvik Viking Experience," which takes visitors on a journey through the village using a series of interactive exhibits and displays.
A key feature of the Jorvik Viking Experience is the "Time Capsule," which gives visitors an insight into how the Vikings lived, worked, and played. The Time Capsule features a number of interactive exhibits providing information on the beliefs and customs of this fascinating culture.
The Coppergate Site
Another interesting aspect of the Jorvik Viking Centre is the Coppergate Site, where visitors can uncover the best of modern archaeology.
The experience commences with a fully immersive display that transports you back to the late 20th Century excavation, which ended up being ‘one of the most famous and astounding discoveries of modern archaeology’.
The York Viking Museum
In addition to the Jorvik Viking Centre, York is also home to the York Viking Museum, which is located in the city's historic Treasurer's House, a Grade I listed building dating back to the 11th century.
The museum features a collection of Viking artefacts, including weapons, armour, and jewellery, as well as displays on the history and culture of the Viking people. The museum also has a number of interactive exhibits.
One of the highlights of the York Viking Museum is the "Viking Treasury," which features a collection of artefacts that were found during an archaeological excavation of a Viking burial site in Norway. The collection includes a number of gold and silver objects, as well as some of the finest examples of Viking craftsmanship in the world.
The York Viking Museum also hosts a number of special events and workshops throughout the year. These events range from lectures and talks by experts in the field of Viking studies, to hands-on workshops where visitors can learn about Viking crafts and trades.
Together, the Jorvik Viking Centre and the York Viking Museum offer visitors a unique opportunity to learn about the city’s rich Viking heritage. Whether you're a history buff or just interested in this fascinating period of history, a visit to these museums is a must-see for anyone visiting York.
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