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21/03/2017

News release - Issued by JORVIK

New collaboration with the British Museum brings Viking Treasures to JORVIK

York Archaeological Trust has today revealed details of a new collaboration which will see nationally-significant Viking treasures from the British Museum’s collections on display alongside artefacts uncovered in York in the new galleries at JORVIK Viking Centre.

When the attraction reopens on 8 April 2017, part of the artefact gallery has been designed to host loaned items from other significant Viking collections, and for the first three years, this will include a significant display from the British Museum’s world-renowned collection.

“The displays within JORVIK have always focused on York and the discoveries made here on the Coppergate site, but when we were looking at changing the format of our galleries as part of the re-imagining of JORVIK, we took the opportunity to explore the city’s context within Viking world,” explains director of attractions, Sarah Maltby. “We are delighted that Gareth Williams, the curator of the British Museum’s Viking collection, will continue to work with us as an expert advisor , overseeing the displays of weaponry, jewellery, coinage and other artefacts including a Viking-age cup that are on loan to us as part of this long-term collaboration.”

The news helps secure York’s JORVIK Viking Centre’s position as a national centre of excellence for the Viking-age, as well as providing a showcase that highlights some of the British Museum’s most exciting Viking finds.

“What was uncovered during the excavations of Viking-age Coppergate was evidence of how the Vikings lived their day-to-day lives – how their houses were built and laid out, what they made and traded, and what they ate, for example – but little evidence was found on this site of the Vikings’ fearsome reputation as warriors and invaders,” adds Sarah. “Conversely, the British Museum’s Viking collections are stronger in weaponry and treasures, so these two complement each other wonderfully, enabling us to deliver an even more rounded depiction of the Vikings in Britain and elsewhere.”

Items to be featured include treasures from the Halton Moor Hoard – a collection of 860 silver coins and six gold discs, a twisted silver neck ring and a gilt silver cup dating back to around AD1025-30, in the reign of Canute. The display will also feature coins of Canute as king of both England and Denmark, and a unique die, used to strike coins towards the end of Canute’s reign. Weaponry, including spearheads and a ‘pattern-welded’ sword found near Windsor will also be on display, with axe heads and stirrups of the kind used by Vikings when travelling over land on horseback.

Jewellery was also used to demonstrate Viking wealth, and items from Gotland, off the Swedish coast will also join the displays. Over 700 hoards of silver have been discovered on Gotland, including many Islamic coins from raiding and trading with the Islamic world.

“Whilst we are based in London, the British Museum is a museum for the whole of the UK, so we are very pleased to be working with JORVIK Viking Centre to share objects from our collections to be enjoyed by different communities. The Vikings are so much a part of York’s local culture and identity, that we are happy to share objects from our displays and our reserve collections in this remarkable setting,” comments Gareth Williams of the British Museum.

The galleries at JORVIK – which visitors enter as they finish the ride experience around the recreation of Viking-age Coppergate – have been completely redesigned as part of the new visitor experience, to create a much larger space where visitors can take time to explore the collections of artefacts.

“We’ve created a single cohesive space for our artefacts which encourages visitors to stay for longer to explore the items found during the dig, including better lighting and floating island cases, which enable visitors to enjoy a 360 degree view of items like the York Helmet, which will join our displays for the first month of opening,” adds Sarah. “We’ve created a dedicated seating area for displays and talks, introduced touch-screen displays where visitors can delve deeper into Viking life and improved the lighting. This is probably the most radical change within this version of JORVIK, and we’re looking forward to hearing what visitors think when they walk through the doors on 8 April.”

JORVIK Viking Centre re-opens for visitors on 8 April 2017. Tickets can be prebooked online at the new JORVIK website, www.jorvikvikingcentre.co.uk. Even for sessions where all the prebooked tickets have been reserved, walk-up visitors will be able to join the traditional queue snaking around Coppergate during busier times.

ENDS


Notes to editors:

The media preview of JORVIK Viking Centre takes place on Thursday 6 April from 10.00am to 4.00pm. If you would like more details or to register to attend, please contact Jay Commins (details below).

For further media information or photographs, please contact:

Jay Commins
Pyper York Limited
Tel: 01904 500698
Email: jay@pyperyork.co.uk