Vikings: Fact and Fiction

  • Tuesday 30 July 2024 to Sunday 3 November 2024
  • Tuesday 10:00 to 17:00
  • Wednesday 10:00 to 17:00
  • Thursday 10:00 to 17:00
  • Friday 10:00 to 17:00
  • Saturday 10:00 to 17:00
  • Sunday 10:00 to 17:00
  • Suitable for all ages

So, you think you know the Vikings?

This Summer challenge what you think you know about the Vikings with a new myth-busting exhibition at Torre Abbey, in collaboration with York Archaeology, the people behind JORVIK Viking Centre in York.

‘Vikings: Fact or Fiction’ is an exciting exhibition designed to uncover some of the misconceptions we may have about the Vikings. When most people think of Vikings, they imagine bearded warriors wreaking havoc or legendary gods with magic hammers. But the Norsemen who settled in northern England in the 9th and 10th centuries also had a fascinating culture. In Vikings: Fact and Fiction, explore who they really were, from the clothes they wore to the activities they did for fun. Discover 1,000-year-old artefacts and see how the Vikings impacted the world, not just through raiding and conquering but through craft-making and trading.

Children will also love getting hands-on with the Viking Age with exciting themed activities, including Viking dress-up, rune stamping and have a go at designing their very own Viking God.

The word ‘Viking’ often conjures up an image of manly, bearded warriors aboard longships, making heroic voyages to far-off lands, or fighting bloody battles. We generally assume a Viking to be a raider from Scandinavia, who invaded and subsequently settled in the British Isles and Ireland in the early medieval period (roughly between 793 and 1066 AD). However, this term can be slightly misleading. The word has its roots in two Old Norse words meaning ‘an overseas expedition’, or someone who goes on such an expedition. There is no evidence that the people who travelled from Scandinavia to Britain called themselves Vikings. If the term was used, it seems to have described an activity or profession, rather than an identity or ethnicity. Vikings: Fact or Fiction invites the audience to discover links between the Viking period and present day, and to challenge their preconceptions of what a ‘Viking’ was.

We are also delighted to announce another thrilling collaboration as we partner with the British Museum to bring the Goodrington Arm-ring back to Torbay. This mysterious ancient arm-ring was found right here, along the local seashore but how did it get there? Who owned the golden arm-ring? What story lies behind it?

Lucinda Heron, Torre Abbey Manager, “This is a perfect chance to see a part of Viking history found right here in the English Riviera. For the very first time since its discovery at Goodrington Beach in Paignton in 1979, the golden Viking arm-ring will return ‘home’ to South Devon, it has been on exhibition at the British Museum since its discovery. We are delighted to be working in collaboration with York Archaeology and the British Museum for our summer exhibition Vikings: Fact or Fiction.”

So join us this summer to discover more.

Head of Interpretation & Learning at York Archaeology, Chris Tuckley, explains: “At JORVIK Viking Centre we like to challenge people’s preconceptions of the Vikings, using archaeological evidence to explore their complex culture and lifestyle as well as their war-mongering tendencies. We’re delighted to be sharing artefacts and knowledge with Torre Abbey, in a part of the world where the Vikings roamed 1,000 years ago.”


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