Norwich Castle treasure features in children’s history programme
- Credit: © Plum Films 2016
A Viking treasure discovered in Norfolk has a starring role in a children's television programme teaching young children about history.
A rare Thor's Hammer amulet from the archaeology collections of Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery features in a new episode of the CBeebies show Teacup Travels which is being screened at 5.35pm tonight.
It is one of the treasures to decorate a teacup in Great Aunt Lizzie's huge collection, and when her young visitors - Charlotte, Lokesh and Elliot - pick the cup from her kitchen dresser it draws them into the world of the Viking seafarer Even.
He is setting off on a long journey having forgotten his lucky amulet which is sacred to the Viking god, Thor, and Even's wife begs Lokesh to help protect her husband by returning the amulet to him before he sets sail.
An accurate replica of the beautiful silver and gold amulet is used in the episode while the original can be seen on display in the Anglo-Saxon and Viking gallery in Norwich Castle.
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Its role in the programme began when Teacup Travels production company, Plum Films, got in touch with Tim Pestell, senior curator of archaeology at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery.
Mr Pestell said: 'Plum Films were very excited about the dramatic potential of our Thor's Hammer which dates from the late Anglo-Saxon period and is a unique example from that period. Thor was the hammer-wielding Norse god associated with thunder, lightning and strength. The producers were interested in exploring how such an object would have been used by its owner as a source of luck and protection. They came up with an exciting script centred on a Viking family designed to be accessible to young viewers and I was able to guide them on the historical accuracy of the storyline.'
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Colly Mudie, learning manager at Norwich Museums, said: 'It's lovely that Teacup Travels demonstrates how ancient history can engage even the very youngest audiences...Age is no barrier to beginning to learn about the past and we're delighted that one of our objects has been given such high-profile national exposure – we'll be giving out stickers to young visitors who track down the original in our galleries!'
The Teacup Travels episode will be screened at 5.35pm tonight on the CBeebies channel and will also be available on BBC iPlayer for the next month - visit www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer
ABOUT THE THOR'S HAMMER AMULET
Discovered by a metal detectorist in Norfolk in 2003, the Thor's Hammer amulet was purchased for the Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery collections with assistance from the Friends of Norwich Museums and the Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund.
The hammer is decorated with an intricate design of gold filigree inserted into the silver head. This feature is unique in British Thor's Hammers, having been found in only one other example from Norfolk which is now lost.
Its significance also lies in the fact that the dedication of the hammer to the god Thor points to a wider presence of pagan Viking settlers in Norfolk than had previously been evidenced.