JORVIK Festival Project 2022 | JORVIK Viking Centre

Explore the Jorvik Group

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Inspired by the Silverdale Hoard coming to the JORVIK Viking Centre, pupils from Cherry Burton Primary School in East Yorkshire explored this year’s theme ‘Riches of the Viking Age’ by examining the archaeological evidence for hoards and their contents.

In our second all-digital schools project, Year 5 took part in three bespoke Virtual Outreach sessions, and completed follow-up tasks to consolidate all they had learned about Viking-age wealth, trade and travel, power struggles and belief, as well as what we can learn about the people who buried hoards and the cultures they interacted with.

 

Taking silver as an all-important starting point, the class travelled back to the tenth century to meet Coppergate’s resident coin striker, Arnor. In his workshop, they explored the coinage available to the people of Jorvik, found out how it was made, and the significance of the symbols kings of the period emblazoned their money with. They also discovered that in a bullion economy, there’s more than one way to pay for your luxury goods: hack-silver cut from jewellery and small bars of precious metal called ingots were revealed as valid payment.

Building on what they learned with Arnor, pupils were then encouraged to design their own Viking-style coin, declaring themselves monarch and using symbols to communicate their right to rule to their subjects. Having got to grips with either latin or runes, symbols and legends were combined in their final designs.

The next session saw archaeologist and hoard expert, Philip, guide the class through an analysis of famous Viking-age hoards and what we can learn about the north of England in this period through their study. They questioned whether hoards were always buried in times of strife, and what the multi-cultural nature of the items could tell us about the contact people had with the wider world.

This raised questions about why something may be considered valuable, which inspired the class when planning their own modern-day hoard to represent their school and values. Friendship and house pride featured alongside the now ever-present hand sanitizer, showing a great sense of community.

The final session saw our first-ever virtual outreach craft-along session, as we returned to tenth-century York to ask ‘What’s in a Hoard?’. Ermingard and Hugleike welcomed the pupils into their home, and discussed personal items they might store away for safekeeping before work started on crafting and compiling the ‘Cherry Burton Hoard’ of Viking-inspired treasure. With items of their own jewellery on hand to provide inspiration, the class came together to choose a symbol for their Class Coins forged from tin foil, and put their modelling skills to the test to create individual Thor’s hammer pendants, strap ends and ingots from silver clay. Once dry, the jewellery was collected and arranged into a convincing array of hoard assemblages that any archaeologist would be thrilled to find!