Thursday, August 2, 2012

Valhalla: In Search Of The Viking Dead

The woman looks at peace as she lies with her arms crossed neatly over her chest and her legs stretched out – even though it is over a thousand years since she died, archaeologists can tell that she was a wealthy woman in life.

She was about 46 when she died, but her teeth are in excellent condition – indicating a good, soft diet – and her skeleton shows few signs that, during life, she ever had to do much hard work. “She was obviously treated extremely well,” says Peter Connelly, from the York Archaeological Trust.

Follow in the footsteps of the Vikings and pay a visit to Valhalla

Saturday 21st July sees the opening of York Archaeological Trust’s new exhibition ‘Valhalla: In search of the Viking dead‘. It is a first-of-its-kind exhibition displaying evidence for Viking burials across the British Isles, showcasing some of the country’s most advanced archaeological expertise.

It is the result of collaborations with York Minster and Manx National Heritage (MNH). Allison Fox, of MNH, described it as “incredibly exciting”.

DISCOVER remains found in excavations and find out how the Vikings commemorated and celebrated their dead using pagan boat burials, grave goods and ornately carved headstones.

EXPLORE evidence from York, including the burials of a woman and a man and a series of carved stones from York Minster.

EXPERIENCE a special hands-on children’s area, where puppetry and play helps find out more about Norse myths and sagas.

The exhibition will display significant artefacts from excavations in York and the Isle of Man, including two Viking-age skeletons from the Hungate excavation in York and a replica of Thorwald’s Cross in cooperation with Manx National Heritage.

Sarah Maltby, director of attractions at York Archaeological Trust, said: “Looking at this evidence, alongside artefacts found throughout the British Isles, helps tell a more accurate story of Viking Britain and our Viking ancestry.”

The exhibition also tells the story of a Viking man whose remains were found in the Balladoole ship burial on the Isle of Man. Using forensic science researchers can tell he was aged 45 years and died in or around AD 950.

Past Horizons. 2012. "Valhalla: In Search Of The Viking Dead". Past Horizons. Posted: July 24, 2012. Available online:

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