Were the Romans Before the Vikings?

A day trip out today highlighted my woeful ignorance of British history. It was a cold, windy and grey day and we have our friend John staying with us for a few days, so we decided to go into York and visit the Jorvik Viking Centre.

Of course, by the time we got into York it was lunchtime and we passed this lovely old pub (which claims to be the most haunted in York)

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So of course we stopped off for sustenance.

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This guy looked like he’d spent too long in there

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Over lunch, we debated whether the Romans came before or after the Vikings and discovered that we all had it wrong (the Vikings came afterwards) and once fortified by food and a snifter to keep out the cold, we headed for the museum.

It was an interesting experience – rather than being just a series of glass cases to walk around, it was a real experience. It tells the story of York in Viking times (roughly 800 AD to 1,000 AD) through exhibits but also through an interactive experience. You sit in a little buggy a little bit like a fairground waltzer, and travel through a reconstruction of York (or Jorvik) in Viking times.

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Some of the vikings talk to you in their original language and the whole thing is very evocative.

After the ride, there are some glass cases showcasing the items they dug up when excavating the site between 1976 and 1981.

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Including this poor chap who apparently died of multiple axe wounds in about 1,000 AD.

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It’s not a huge museum and probably only took us about an hour to see, but it was genuinely fascinating. And at least I now know that the Vikings definitely came after the Romans!

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One thought on “Were the Romans Before the Vikings?

  1. The Romans came from the south; the Vikings came from the north. If that helps. Which it probably doesn’t.

    I remember when the Jorvik Centre was first opened. It caused a huge stir. It was the first museum (I think) which wasn’t just artefacts in cases, which you couldn’t touch, and which you had to read about in long boring descriptions. It was the first which tried to make history fun for kids, and bring it to life. At the time, it was revolutionary.

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