Eight museums not to miss if you are into Vikings

By Christian Engel | 10 June 2014
The Vikings’ stay in Great Britain was comparatively short – but lasting. After they had first raided the Northeastern island of Lindisfarne in A.D. 793, they disappeared at the end of the 11th century.

But the heritage they left in Great Britain keeps fascinating adults as well as children. These museums are the best to satisfy the knowledge thirst for information about the bearded invaders.


© Nigel Green
 
Jorvik Viking Centre
This museum in York takes you 1000 years back in time. Visitors walk through the reconstruction of the Viking town Jorvik.

The remains of the houses, workshops and backyards were unearthed by archaeologists from 1976 to 1981.
 
Actors present the old-Norske speaking citizens of Jorvik. Audio and video displays inform about the Vikings – why they came to Britain and how they lived and died.

House of Mannanan
At the museum on the Isle of Man, visitors cannot only see the artefacts of the island’s Celtic and maritime past. 

Guided by the island’s mythical sea god Manannan, you can experience the reconstruction of a Viking longhouse and learn how its inhabitants lived in it.

On the replica of a longship you can eavesdrop on a Viking crew that returns from the legendary battle of Clontarf in 1014, in which Scandinavians troops suffered a severe loss against the troops of the Irish king Brian Boru who himself died during the bloody encounter.

Things among cleaning tools© Nigel Green

Dock Museum
The Dock Museum in Barrow-in-Furness is home to a large Viking treasure that was put into ground in the 950s. It consists of 92 silver coins and artefacts like ingots and silver bracelets.

Visitors can also see the remnants of a sword, a lead weight and a spindle whorl.

In the Conquest Gallery you can learn about the history of the Vikings in England and visit the replica of a longboat.


Yorkshire Museum

In its rich archaeological section the Museum of Yorkshire displays a large collection of Viking objects.

Among them are a gold arm ring that could have belonged to a Viking royal and the myth-enshrouded Cawood Sword which is nearly 1000 years old.


Ancient Technology Centre
At the Ancient Technology Centre in Dorset, South West England, visitors can see a 26 metre long Viking longhouse besides other ancient buildings.

The longhouse was reconstructed with loving care by school children, students and volunteers in three years of work.
 
It is also the residence of the centre. During residential visits groups can immerse themselves into ancient life.

They get to know farming work like harvesting, building fences and feeding pigs. And they learn how to cook their meal without modern devices.

Up to 35 children and eight adults can sleep under the roof that is strewn with runes.


National Museum of Scotland
The National Museum of Scotland has a big collection of Viking artefacts.

Among them are swords, brooches, combs and the model of a longship.

© Lee Kindness via Wikimedia Commons
British Museum
The collection of the British Museum contains the Coardale hoard - the largest Viking silver treasure found in Western Europe.

It consists of 8500 pieces, mostly coins, but also ingots and bone-pins.

Among the coins are some that stem from such remote places as the Islamic countries of Central Asia and the Middle East, thereby showing the reach of the Viking civilization.

Another Viking treasure in the British museum is the York hoard that was found near Harrogate, England.  The hoard consists of precious metal objects like coins and ornaments.

It is believed that a rich Viking leader put it into ground to save it from the Anglo-Saxons that conquered the Viking kingdom of Northumbria in AD 927.


Lindisfarne Priory
The picturesque landscape of the Lindisfarne Priory is the site where the Nordic invaders first landed. 

The collection of the museum contains a stone carving that depicts the Viking raid of 793. 

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