Treasures from Orkney Viking burial grave to go on show at York Jorvik

By Ben Miller | 02 March 2010
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A photo of an ancient stone carving of two dragon heads

An iron sword, gaming pieces and an arsenal of arrows from a set of antler bone carvings found next to corpses in Viking graves will be revealed by archaeologists in York this May.

The Jorvik Viking Centre has obtained the burial hoard from The Orkney Museum, which has held the remains since they were discovered alongside the bodies of an elderly woman, middle-aged man and a child on the island town of Scar in 1991.

Designed to follow the souls of the dead into the afterlife in a Viking boat grave, they were almost lost forever.

A local farmer originally spotted the bones jutting out on a coastal shore in 1985, but the significance of his find from the scene - a tiny lead weight used by Norse traders to weigh silver and gold - was only realised when he showed it to a visiting archaeologist six years later.

A photo of the inside of a museum showing a darkened floor

The Centre reopened last month following a £1 million revamp

Experts raced to save the skeletal rivet of the vessel, using radio-carbon techniques to date artefacts including an A4-sized linen smoothing plaque and a comb to between 875AD and 950AD.

They will go on show at the Centre as part of its 25th anniversary celebrations.

"We are extremely privileged to have such important findings taking residence at the Centre," said Sarah Maltby, director of attractions at York Archaeological Trust.

"This collection is of immense national significance and has toured as far as Australia, now residing for the first time in England."

The building reopened last month following a £1 million revamp.

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