'Blockbuster' Viking exhibition opens at Norwich Castle
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
Norwich Castle is this weekend gearing up for the return of the Vikings - more than 1,000 years since they arrived in East Anglia.
The castle tomorrow opens a new exhibition containing some of the most significant Anglo-Saxon and Viking treasures ever found in Britain.
Entitled ‘Viking: Rediscover the Legend’, the exhibition includes the Anglo-Saxon York Helmet, which is said to be the most outstanding example of its type to survive.
Viking treasures including the Vale of York, Cuerdale and the Bedale Viking Hoards will also be on display.
These finds will be shown alongside items from Norwich Castle’s own collection, including many items on display for the first time.
Steve Miller, assistant director of culture and heritage at Norfolk County Council, said: “I think this is a blockbuster exhibition and like most of what we do here at the castle, we will try to have a programme that has something for everyone.”
The exhibition features objects from the British Museum and Yorkshire Museum.
British Museum director Hartwig Fischer said: “I think it is very exciting to open the window so wide into that period of time when the Vikings came in as raiders and then settlers.
“It is a very interesting story of migration.”
The exhibition begins with ‘Viking Homelands’, which takes a look at what Viking life was like in Scandinavia, helping visitors understand the context of their expansion abroad.
‘Raiders and Invaders’ explores the Vikings’ motivations for expansion abroad, which included trade as well as the acquisition of wealth by force
‘Pre-Viking Britain’ looks at the complex patchwork of kingdoms, each with their own culture, which made up Anglo-Saxon England.
From the mid-9th century Viking raiding parties increased in size and began to stay for longer periods, eventually turning into full-scale invasion.
‘Invaders to Settlers’ explores this development, examining the motivating factors behind the invasion and settlement of Britain.
The incoming Scandinavians settled large portions of Britain, creating distinctive Viking kingdoms in Scotland and across eastern and northern England .
‘Transformation’ traces the complex process of cross fertilisation between native and Viking cultures across 200 years from the 9th to 11th centuries which shaped every aspect of society.
Other sections of the exhibition look at the Viking’s legacy and the myths associated with them.
The exhibition is on from Saturday, February 9 to September 8.