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Valhalla: In Search Of The Viking Dead

Historical artefacts revealing how the Vikings celebrated and commemorated their dead have gone on display in York. 

Sarah Maltby, director of attractions at Jorvik with a skeleton at Valhalla [Credit: The Press]
The Valhalla exhibition displaying artefacts from excavations in York and the Isle of Man has opened thanks to York Archaeological Trust. 

The exhibition, which is the result of collaboration with York Minster and Manx National Heritage, brings together burial findings and the latest archaeological research techniques to examine. 

It includes two Viking-age skeletons from the Hungate excavation in York, which have been the subject of pathological research from York Osteoarchaeology in a bid to uncover more about who they were. 

Visitors can also see a replica of Thorwald's Cross, which is thought to depict the transition from the Viking's pagan belief system to Christianity. 

The exhibition will also show the York Minster stones, which were discovered during York Archaeological Trust's excavations in their original locations above the burials they had commemorated. This is rare as Viking gravestones in Britain have usually been found away from their original positions. 

Viking skeleton excavation at Hungate, York

Sarah Maltby, director of attractions at York Archaeological Trust, said: "This latest pathological research gives us clues about the lives that those people led. 

"Combine this with osteological analysis, and we can tell the sex, age and height of a person, depending on how much of the skeleton was preserved in the ground. The research can also give us clues as to how that person may have died, whether from disease, injury or from natural causes. 

"Looking at this evidence, alongside artefacts found throughout the British Isles, helps tell a more accurate story of Viking Britain and our Viking ancestry." 

The exhibition will run until November 5 at the Jorvik Viking Centre, 10 Coppergate, York. For more information visit 

Source: Batley & Birstall News [July 24, 2012]

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