Grave slab and iron axeheads tell tales of Viking Britain at new Danish museum

By Ben Miller | 05 November 2014

Grave slab and iron axeheads delivered to Denmark as tales of York Vikings go international

A photo of an ancient silver penny with the head of an emperor on it
A silver penny of king Æthelred II, struck at the mint of York by the moneyer Othgrim (997-1003). Findspot uncertain© Yorkshire Museum
In the hills of Skåde, overlooking Aarhus Bay, the Moesgaard Museum is telling the tales of seven Vikings, all from Aros, with the help of curators from Yorkshire.

Denmark’s first new-build historical museum is partly presenting travelogues of these men. The connection with York, they say, is vital – played out by a grave slab, antler combs, amber roughouts, jewellery, iron axeheads, bone ice skates and coins, all going on display for the next three years.

As Royal Capital of the Danelaw, Jorvik - the name given to York during parts of the 9th and 10th centuries, when Norse warriors roamed the region - was an important political, religious and commercial centre.

Excavations at Coppergate, held during the 1970s, brought York’s Anglo-Scandinavian archaeology to the attention of the world, with unique soil conditions preserving masses of objects unparalleled by comparable Viking settlements.

Some are world-renowned symbols of wealth, while others reflect the everyday lives and aspirations of the people who lived and worked around Jorvik. Aside from the 25 now docked in Denmark, the Yorkshire Museum’s current exhibition, , contains a gold arm-ring, a grave slab showing the legend of Sigurd and a silk hat from Iran, described as “incredibly rare”.

“York’s Viking heritage is of global importance,” says Natalie McCaul, the Curator of Archaeology at the museum.

“We are very excited to see the Yorkshire Museums’ collections being displayed on an international level.

“It is always interesting to meet, talk with and learn from international colleagues with similar collections about how they interpret their objects and tell stories for visitors, too.”

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A photo of an ancient brown tooth comb
Viking single-sided antler comb with iron rivets Dates (866-1066) (Anglo-Scandinavian). Found at Clifford Street, York© Yorkshire Museum
A photo of an ancient brown tooth comb
A viking double-sided bone comb with iron rivets, with circle and dot decoration (866-1066) (Anglo-Scandinavian). Found in York© Yorkshire Museum
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