Jorvik Viking Centre

Leeds, United Kingdom

Jorvik Viking Centre


The Jorvik Viking Centre is a museum and visitor attraction in York, England, containing lifelike mannequins and life-size dioramas depicting Viking life in the city. Visitors are taken through the dioramas in small carriages equipped with speakers. It was created by the York Archaeological Trust in 1984. Its name is derived from Jórvík, the Old Norse name for the city of York.

In the 1850s confectioner Thomas Craven acquired a site in Coppergate. When he died in 1862 his widow Mary Ann Craven continued the business and a century later, in 1966, Cravens relocated to a new factory on the outskirts of the city. Between 1976 and 1981, after the old factory was demolished, and prior to the building of the Coppergate Shopping Centre (an open-air pedestrian shopping centre which now occupies the enlarged site), the York Archaeological Trust, a charity founded in 1972 by Peter Addyman, conducted extensive excavations in the area. Well-preserved remains of some of the timber buildings of the Viking city of Jorvík were discovered, along with workshops, fences, animal pens, privies, pits and wells, together with durable materials and artefacts of the time, such as pottery, metalwork and bones. Unusually, wood, leather, textiles, and plant and animal remains from the period around 900 AD, were also discovered to be preserved in oxygen-deprived wet clay. In all, over 40,000 objects were recovered.

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