The Viking age in European history was
about AD 700 to 1100. During this period
many Vikings left Scandinavia and travelled
to other countries, such as Britain and
Ireland. Some went to fight and steal
treasure. Others settled in new lands as
farmers, craftsmen ortraders.
The map shows how Vikings came to
the British Isles
The remains of a Viking farm at
Ribblehead in Yorkshire, England.
A Viking ship, pictured in an Anglo-
Saxon history book.
Viking buildings at Jarlshof in the
Shetland Isles, north of Scotland.
Ruins of homes built by Vikings who
settled in Greenland. This is a modern
The Vikings built fast ships for raiding and
war. These ships were 'dragon-ships' or
'longships'. The Vikings also had slower
passenger and cargo ships called knorrs.
They built small boats for fishing or short
A real Viking longship. The ‘Gokstad’ ship was built between AD 850
and AD 900. It was excavated by archaeologists, and is now in a
museum in Oslo, Norway.
The Oseberg longship in the
Figureheads on ships were meant to scare enemies.
It shows what the 'dragon-head' on a Viking
fighting-ship probably looked like.
Viking sailors could tell which way the
wind was blowing by looking at a weather-
A raid on England
In 793, 'Northmen' (as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle calls them)
attacked theChristian monastery at Lindisfarne in Northumbria,
in north-east England. Northumbria was an English kingdom,
and its monasteries were famous for books, art and treasures.
On a January day, the longships arrived and the Vikings
attacked. They burned buildings, stole treasures, murdered
monks, and terrified everyone. Some Christian Church leaders
said the Vikings were sent by God, to punish people in England
for doing wrong.
This is a modern re-enactment of a Viking
battle. Notice the men's helmets and round
A Viking sword. Only a rich Viking could afford a fine sword. Sword-
making was a great skill, and a good sword was kept as a family
Lindisfarne today. The Viking raid on the Christian
monastery at Lindisfarne in AD 793 shocked and
frightened people in England.
This is what a Viking might have looked like. Most men
had beards. In this picture, the man wears an iron helmet
with a nose-protector.
These are fragments of Viking cloth and weaving tools.
The tools include needles and shears. The textiles still have
traces of coloured dyes.
Viking women spent a lot of time weaving
wool, to make clothes and blankets.
A leather boot. Can you see how it was
fastened? This boot was found at
A wood-turner working a pole-lathe, a machine for shaping
wood. This is a model at the Jorvik Viking Centre (York).
Animals shared Viking homes with Viking families. This woman is looking
after her geese.
These are playing pieces made form bone, antler and ivory. They are
shown alongside a fragment of a board for the game hnefatafl.
Jorvik's last king
Throughout the Viking Age, there were many battles
between the Vikings and the English. In the 9th
century, the English king Alfred the Great stopped the
Vikings taking over all of England. In the 10th century
the Englishreconquered much of the land held by
Vikings. In 954, they drove out Eric Bloodaxe, the last
Viking king of Jorvik. After Eric was killed in battle,
the Vikings in England agreed to be ruled by
Eric Bloodaxe was the last Viking King of Jorvik. This is one of his
silver pennies, with a sword and his name Eric Rex ('King Eric' in
Latin) on one side.