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Vikings enlivened by rebuilt York village, pt. 1
Vikings enlivened by By Ray Moseley Chicago Tribune YOIIK, England The Vikings arc a mysterious people. Ask anyone what he knows aDout them, Bays Peter Addyman, and he probably will think of rape, pillage and slaughter, Viking long ships and horned helmets. "And only part of that Is correct," Addyman says. "For example, there is no record of the Vikings ever having worn horned helmets; that idea seems to derive from Wagnerian opera."' Addyman, director of the York Archeological Trust, knows a great deal about Vikings. He and his associates recently finished a five-year dig into the streets of Viking Age York, and their findings' have considerably enhanced the world's knowledge of these Scandinavian warrior people who colonized York in 8G6 and whose last king, Eric Bloodaxe, was driven out in 054. "We have rewritten the social history of the Viking Age," says Richard Hall, deputy director of the Trust and site director for the dig. "For the first time we have got a good picture of how people lived then." Addyman and his associates also have developed a novel concept of how to display archeological finds to the public. On the basis of what they learned, they have reconstructed a Viking Age street scene on the site of the dig, which now rests beneath a modern shopping center in the heart of York. IT PROMISES to become a mojor addition to the tourist attractions of York, one of England's most attractive cities with Its narrow medieval streets and its magnificent cathedral, York Minster. , The new development Is called the Jorvik Viking Center, Jorvik being the Viking name for the town. It is on a street called Coppergate. Gate, from the Old Norse word gain, is the modern Scandinavian word for street and is widely used in northern England. In the Viking Center, thatch-roofed houses made from split timber and wattle and daub have been constructed. Human figures wearing Viking-style clothing nave been created and are shown engaged in life's ordinary pursuits, from weaving fabric to carrying out the rubbish. There are market stalls with replicas of silver jewelry, leather shoes, scabbards, combs and pins made from antler and bone, fresh fruit and fish. A sound track for the crowd scene was recorded by people in Iceland because the Icelandic language is close to the Old Norse spoken by the Vikings. Even the smells of a Viking settlement . have been re-created Tribune MaTgSSIliTOWfflSg Visitors may get a whiff of decaying rubbish, ripe apples or latrines. THE TOUR OF the Viking Center is made aboard battery-powered, four-seater vehicles that move along an Invisible strip by means of mag-' netlc sensors. They have been dubbed "time cars" and as they move along visitors hear a detailed commentary in a choice of three languages. Addyman says he and several of his associates devised the center as a means of making an archeological sue uiiuer&iunuuoje 10 we puDlic. "During the die. a hair million a looKea in our hole he says. "They saw people came and in tne ground." h blackened posts and dingy old bones They couldn't understand what these tnings meant, xney are even con-. fusing to archeologfsts at times." The $4 million Viking Center was built largely with borrowed money and donations. Scandinavian-based . firms and Lutheran groups in Minne-. ' sota have been among the principal donors. Addyman says the wooden, leather '. and textile objects found in the dig had been "beautifully preserved" by the waterlogged soli. "We found houses standing up to six feet. It did not take a lot of; , ,--.! a. riii. it -frit i. . imuginmiuu ui luu&u ujcjii uii, no 1 -said. Some of the original wood, : " rmalro1 In nnWat hulann ofvtw iwav In . preserve ft, "has been used in the reconstruction. - ADDYMAN DESCRIBES the Cop pergate find as one of the three great viking cities exacavated in Europe. . The others are at Dublin and at' Hedeby In north Germany. "We have here some of the best- ! preserved Viking buildings in the.' world, and the best collection of; artifacts of the Viking age In BrlK aln," he says. . ; . At the end of the time-car tour,' ; visitors see a display of 500 of the , 30,000 objects uncovered in the dig. 1 These Include such things as a set of , panpipes, a Viking board game, ice ; skates made from horse bones;'.