Medieval Medicine | JORVIK Viking Centre

Explore the Jorvik Group

Explore the Jorvik Group

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At Medieval Medicine, you’ll be introduced to five medical practitioners from a period where survival was heavily dependent on who was able to treat you. Discover diverse approaches to treatment and get up close to human skeletal material, including three full skeletons. One individual, who shows signs of leprosy, is accompanied by a facial reconstruction, helping visitors understand how she may have looked as the disease developed.

Explore medical methods through the barber surgeon’s chest of tools, the physician’s uroscopy wheel and the apothecary’s table full of his ingredients and historic treatments. See how our practitioners fare treating a Black Death patient in the short film, A Touch of Plague, written by Terry Deary – author of the Horrible Histories series – exclusively for the exhibition.

“We were impressed with the professionalism and skill of the JORVIK Group exhibition team throughout the hire process. They handled everything from exhibition design to bespoke installation, working around the unique quirks of our historic building with care and attention. We would happily work with them again.”

Philip Miles, Time & Time Museum, Great Yarmouth

Welcome to Medieval Medicine

Visitors are introduced to the five medical practitioners at the start of the exhibition. (Shown here on display at Time & Tide Museum, Great Yarmouth, 2019)

Medical practitioners

Who would you have wanted to treat you in the medieval period? Were your chances better with the apothecary or the cunning woman? Do you put your faith in a religious figure or a barber surgeon? Can you afford a physician?

Exhibition Trail

For an extra exhibition activity, visitors select a character at the start of the exhibition, all based on real medieval accounts. They then need to find a suitable treatment, before discovering if it would have actually worked.

Apothecary table

There are many medical methods to discover in the exhibition, especially on the apothecary’s table.

Uroscopy wheel

Spin the physician’s uroscopy wheel to diagnose your illness by the colour of your urine!

Barber Surgeon’s Chest

A barber surgeon would have had a variety of tools at his disposal. Visitors can press the button to hear what some of them were used for.

Skeletal material

Skeletal material from the period reveals the physical impact of different illnesses.

Human remains

The three skeletons on display allow visitors to understand illness, disease and treatment, as well as what we can learn from archaeological science.

A Touch of Plague

Take a seat to watch A Touch of Plague, an exclusive film written by Terry Deary, as well as our medical practitioners explaining more about their methods.