Thirty years ago, when archaeologists from the York Archaeological Trust began digging on the site of the old Cravens sweet factory…they made what was one of the most astounding discoveries of modern archaeology.
There, they found evidence of the Viking city of Jorvik as it would have been 1,000 years ago. They discovered houses, workshops, and other buildings as well as over 40,000 artefacts. They also removed over eight tonnes of rubble from the site.
Now, standing on that site is the Jorvik Viking Centre; a groundbreaking visitor experience that was to change the face of museums.
Authenticity was extremely important in the creation of the centre, consequently the layout of the houses and the workshops and shops followed the original layout as closely as possible.
Even the smells are authentic with aromas of everything from cooking to cesspits to tickle your nasal passages…and probably make you heave as well.
Source; Visit York
Modern York has always been proud of its Viking heritage evident in the Jorvik Viking Festival which takes place every February. This was a result of the YAT reviving, in the 1980s, the long forgotten Celebration known as Jolablot which was held to celebrate the coming of Spring and the survival of winter hardships.
The festival culminates in the spectacular Boat Burning on the River Ouse. Eric Bloodaxe would have been proud.
Many of York’s street names also reflect its Viking past. For example…Goodramgate most probably derives from Guthrungate, and Coppergate, the site of the original dig gets its name from the cup and tableware makers. Copper deriving from the old Scandinavian word for Koppa…a cup.
So if you ever visit York, you know you will be walking in the footsteps of Eric Bloodaxe and other (slightly romanticised) noble savages. So…enjoy.
I’ll leave you with a few more images of ‘Jorvik’ and its Vikings.