York visitor attraction, JORVIK Viking Centre, is taking inspiration from Hollywood as it offers visitors an epic experience for all 5 senses.
Already known the world over as the attraction that brought the sights and smells of the Viking period in York back to life, the JORVIK Viking Centre is looking to ignite all of their visitors’ senses this summer with an exploration of Norse music and storytelling, food and drink and even a special Viking wildlife spotters’ guide.
“We know that visitors to the centre love interacting with our Viking hosts, asking them questions and posing for photos. They also appreciate our authentic Norse-era smells, (though may not always enjoy them) but we really wanted to bring the full Viking experience this summer, Hollywood has its big budget 3D blockbusters but as we already operate in three dimension we wanted to take it a step further and offer Vikings in 4D!”
Said Sarah Maltby, director of attractions for York Archaeological Trust; the owners of JORVIK Viking Centre.
In fact JORVIK is offering 5 unique experiences to help visitors explore the Viking world using their senses.
Starting before visitors even enter the doors, tactile displays will be on offer, with willing customers blindfolded and asked to identify various Viking-Age products just by touching them. Then on arrival at Viking street level (the attraction is located underground at the level archaeologists discovered Viking artefacts) binoculars and a “spotters’ guide” will be available for the discovery of the many animals that reside in the re-creation of this thousand year old settlement.
“To many the re-created Viking-Age city of Jorvik is familiar territory so we are challenging our visitors to discover the animals who lived alongside the Anglo-Scandinavian residents. Dogs and cats were just as familiar to the Vikings of Jorvik but whereas today they pampered pets, in the 9th and 10th centuries they would have been working animals, employed to help guard property and hunt vermin. It’s not just domestic animals though; visitors might be surprised with some of the more interesting ornithological creatures on display.” Commented Sarah.
The olfactory and gustatory senses come next, where people can sample some Viking delicacies, including dried fish.
Fish played an important part in the diet of Vikings, and in a trading city like Jorvik, with its two rivers and links to the sea, it was never in short supply. Archaeological excavations at Fishergate (which in Old Norse translates as Fish Street) found evidence of a variety of fish bones, including carp, pike, salmon and eel as well as a lot of herring bones and oyster shells.
Sarah mentioned, “The fish we will be sampling is a dried, unsalted cod, which the Vikings would have eaten.This method of preservation allowed it to be stored over several weeks, which would have been useful over the winter months. It will be interesting to see what the 21st century palette makes of this delicacy.”
For the older visitor, mead, a fermented honey drink is on offer. Mentioned in the vivid Viking sagas as the drink of poetry, which the Norse god Odin stole to obtain the skills of a Skáld, or poet and as such is synonymous with poetic inspiration – think of it as the Absinthe of the Viking Age!
The poetic and creative juices continue to flow, post-mead tasting, with a dramatic re-telling of the Viking sagas, accompanied by Norse musical instruments.
“There isn’t much archaeological evidence found of Viking musical instruments, however the sagas do make references to instruments throughout and we are lucky enough at JORVIK to have a set of panpipes made from a small slab boxwood, dated to around the 10th Century.” Commented Sarah.
The panpipes, of which five of the ‘pipes’ have survived, though it is thought that there were originally more, were found during the Coppergate excavations of the late 1970s and early 80s and even after nearly 1,000 years in the ground are still capable of making a tune, ranging from a high A to high E.
Vikings 4D opens for a limited time only from Saturday 18th July to Sunday 6th September and is included in the normal admission price for JORVIK Viking Centre.
Notes to Editors:
Full List of Activities on Offer at Vikings 4D @ JORVIK Viking Centre
Touch: Handling collection of Viking Age artefacts, including bone, antler and pottery, on offer to visitors in the queue – participants will be blindfolded and asked to identify the object/material.
Sight: Binoculars are available in the ‘Time Capsules’ that take visitors around the re-created Viking city. These are to be used to spot the various animals that inhabit the scenes of the ride experience. A “spotter’s guide” will be issued, allowing visitors to score themselves against their finds.
Taste: A Viking Host will be on hand to explain the Viking diet and offer up tasters of unsalted, dried cod (a Norse delicacy) and for visitors over 18, Mead, a beverage made of fermented honey, will be available.
Smell: JORVIK is already famed for its re-creation of the smells of the 10th century York but this will be taken a step further with the introduction of ‘smell boxes’ in the ‘Artefacts Alive’ gallery. A new aroma will be located next to a display of object, with the smell paired to match the contents. 4 smells will be available: Iron (for the Iron working display), Leather (next to the leather and shoemaking) Beef (for the general living display) and wood (for our wood finds).
Sound: A Viking will entertain visitors with period-specific musical instruments (incl a re-creation of the panpipes found at Coppergate) and re-tellings of some favourite Viking sagas. These will take place every 20 mins (3 times an hour)
About JORVIK Viking Centre
JORVIK Viking Centre has welcomed over 17 million visitors in the last 31 years. Owned and operated by York Archaeological Trust, the organisation responsible for the Coppergate excavations of the 1970s and 80s that discovered the thousands of Viking-Age artefacts and led to the creation of the centre.
JORVIK Viking Centre is now part of a wider group of attractions owned and operated by York Archaeological Trust in the city, under the umbrella of The JORVIK Group.
The JORVIK Group includes:
- JORVIK Viking Centre
- Barley Hall
- The Richard III Experience at Monk Bar
- The Henry VII Experience at Micklegate Bar
For more details, please visit www.thejorvikgroup.com
Image Captions: Fastulf the Trader (Stuart Perry) of JORVIK showcases how visitors’ senses will be stimulated during Vikings 4D.
Please note, more images are available on request.
Paul Whiting, Marketing Manager