The popular perception of Vikings is of hulking blonde warriors ravaging the English coast and taking their booty back to Scandinavia. Recent research, however, suggests that Vikings didn’t just come with warriors, but with craftsmen and traders, and in much larger numbers than previously thought. A virtual reality (VR) exhibition is aiming to show visitors what life was like for this Viking army.
The Yorkshire Museum is working in partnership with the British Museum and drawing on research done at University of Sheffield and York University to present a VR recreation of a Viking camp located at Torksey in Lincolnshire. Wearing VR headsets, visitors to the museum can pay a visit to AD 872-3 and see what life was like for Vikings in the winter camp as they waited for spring thaw.
Speaking to the Guardian, Professor Julian Richards said that this was the first project to use VR to depict the Viking world: “Torksey was much more than just a handful of hardy warriors,” he said. “This was a huge base … From the finds we know, for example, that they were repairing their boats here and melting down looted gold and silver to make ingots or bars of metal they used to trade. Metal detectorists have also found more than 300 lead game-pieces, suggesting the Vikings were spending a lot of time playing games waiting for spring and the start of their next offensive.”
The VR scenes are based on objects that have been found by archaeologists at the site, such as jewellery, clothes and even hundreds of lead gaming pieces. The game pieces form part of a ‘Games Night’ VR scene where a group of Vikings can be seen playing a Norse strategy game called hnefatafl.
The exhibition is titled Viking: Rediscover the Legend and will open at the Yorkshire Museum on Friday 19th May 2017.
VRFocus will bring you further news on immersive museum experiences when it becomes available.