I visited York when I was still doing my master study in UK. During that period, I was going around visiting museums for my thesis, and that's how I arrived Leeds, a city that is not too far from York. Before I departed from London, I didn't really plan the trip. I only knew that during the two-day trip I had to visit the Thackray Medical Museum because I took it as one of my case studies. All the time left was for pleasure and I'd see how my mood was. I was staying at a B&B in Leeds. In the evening, I took out the map, trying to check if there's anything interesting around this area. I happily discovered that York is lying so close to Leeds and decided to visit the little town that I've been thinking to go since a while.
約克以維京人的考古遺址聞名於世，到此玩耍，必然不能放過著名的約克維京中心。這座開放於1984年的博物館，肇始於1976至1981年間，英國約克市發現了世界上保存最完整的維京人文物遺址。在挖掘的五年間，於此地出土的文物有上萬件，而且保存狀況非常的良好。於是，在考古發掘工作完成之後的第三年，這座由約克考古公益信託社（York Archaeological Trust）所經營管理的約克維京中心，便正式向世人開放。
York is famous for Viking heritage sites. The Jorvik Viking Centre is a must-go when one visits the town. The museum (center) was opened in 1984. From 1976 to 1981, some excavation works were going on and the most important Viking heritage in the world was found. During the five year excavation, more than 10,000 pieces of artefacts were found and they were all in excellent condition. Three years after the excavation project was completed, the Jorvik Viking Center operated by York Archaeological Trust was open to the public.
The museum is situated on top of an ancient Viking village. During the excavation, all artefacts were taken to laboratories for treatment and then put back to their original location. What were found include houses, utensils and objects that were used in everyday life. The purpose of the museum is to help visitors understand archaeological excavation work as well as Viking culture that existed more than one thousand years ago.
I entered the museum from ground floor. After I bought the ticket, I walked down the stairs and passed through a series of explanation panels before I entered the level where the Viking village is/was situated. I was guided onto a train track cart for a "back in time" ride. The striking feeling came from the fact that the cart is moving backward while visitors are introduced to a series of historical events, such as the second world wide war, the first world wide war, the civil war in UK, before arriving Viking period back in around one thousand years ago. I listened to the audio information from the built-in speakers in the cart. It's like stepping into the past through time channel along with old stories.
After entering the actual site of the Viking village, the cart started to move forward. I arrived a Viking village that was re-constructed according to all the artefats and information found during the excavation. There're sounds, smells and visual effects to present how a Viking lived his life. Markets, houses, fishing boats, even odorous toilette are presented with diorama, to be as lively as possible dated back to 975 A.D. Even the wax figures were made according to the skeleton found during the excavation.
I passed through a dark tunnel. When everything was bright and back to daylight again, I was situated at an excavation site. It's trying to show the visitors the process of an excavation work and the later analysis as well as research work. So visitors might be able to get some idea as to how experts how to reconstruct this ancient village and how lab works are like. Visitors also get the chance to examine artifacts and utilises some apparatus.
The next area is focusing on static exhibition. Museum staff dressed as Vikings are presented. Visitors can catch a glimpse of the lives of Vikings through more than 800 pieces of artefacts.
Since its opening, there're more than 13 million people that have visited the musseum. At the time of the opening, an interpretation incorporating human senses including audio, visual and smell to enhance visitor experiences was very innovative. It keeps attracting thousands of visitors, and for its success, many other institutes in the world tried to apply similar ideas and concepts. It opened a new page to heritage interpretation and is very often referred to in the heritage and museum sector. All these can be realised and understood with a single visit!
PS1. Year of visit: 2000
PS2. For images of the exhibition, please go to YAT Photographic Archive and find "JORVIK" on the left side.