Explore the Jorvik Group
Explore the Jorvik Group
11th February 2022
One of York’s most prized archaeological discoveries, the York Helmet, is back on public display for a month just a few metres away from where it was uncovered in 1982. JORVIK Viking Centre will be hosting the Anglian helm on loan from York Museums Trust until 10 March.
The helmet will take pride of place in JORVIK’s artefacts gallery for a month, making it a must-see for the February half term holiday, along with the Silverdale Hoard which also arrived this week on loan from Lancashire County Museum Service.
“We’re very happy to have the helmet returning to Coppergate for a little while – a place where it laid buried for over 1000 years,” comments Christine McDonnell, head of collections and archives for The JORVIK Group. “We found no Viking weaponry or significant armour during the whole of the Coppergate dig, despite evidence of nearly two hundred years of settlement here, so to find a helmet that was made a century earlier, but deliberately buried around the time the Vikings arrived is quite remarkable – and the quality of its preservation makes it the best example ever discovered in this country.”
The Anglian helmet is an incredibly rare find – one of only six unearthed in the country. Discovered not by an archaeologist, but by a mechanical digger operator – Andy Shaw – after the Coppergate dig had been completed, the helmet was discovered in a wood-lined pit with fragments of antler, stone, glass and iron within the area that is now the Coppergate Centre, which houses JORVIK Viking Centre – and which included some of the best-preserved Viking remains found in this country. The discovery was pure luck – Mr Shaw felt his machine strike something hard in the ground and found the helmet when he went to look at what it was. It was thought that it was buried during the Vikings’ 200 years in York, from AD866.
Reyahn King, chief executive of York Museums Trust, said, “Cultural heritage is key to York’s future, and we are delighted to be working with the team at JORVIK to bring the York Helmet back to public display this February. Its usual home, the Yorkshire Museum, is closed until 8 April for essential repairs, so this gives visitors to York the chance to see this unique artefact up close over the February half term.”
With JORVIK Viking Festival moved this year from its usual February dates to May, it is hoped the York Helmet and Silverdale Hoard displays will appeal to those Norse pilgrims still planning their annual visit this month. “We are hoping that many people will take this opportunity to see the two temporary displays when they are in York, but for those who will not make it to the city in the next month, we are hosting a free livestreamed talk about the Silverdale Hoard by Gareth Williams of the British Museum on Thursday 24 February at 7.30pm as part of That JORVIK Viking Thing, our online Viking Festival which runs from 19 – 27 February,” comments director of attractions for the JORVIK Group, Sarah Maltby.
For more information on JORVIK Viking Centre, and to prebook a ticket, please visit www.jorvikvikingcentre.co.uk. To find out about That JORVIK Viking Thing, visit vikingthing.com
All photographs (c) Charlotte Graham