Some years ago we worked on the landscapes for the Viking Centre in York, famous for its authentic recreation of a Viking village – right down to the smells!
Sadly, York was hit by floods over the winter of 2015-2016, and the Viking Centre was among the many businesses devastated by the water damage. Although valuable artefacts were rescued, the village infrastructure was unsalvageable, having been submerged under a meter of water.
The York Archaeological Trust spent most of 2016 having the space cleaned out and rebuilt. Working with RMA Ltd, the contractor tasked with rebuilding the ‘new’ Viking village, we set to work on the artificial landscape planting.
One of the most interesting challenges of this project was that we had to make sure that whatever we planted, was true to the varieties recorded in the excavated botanical remains.
As we discovered, plants have evolved since the Vikings, which for us meant lots of customised and bespoke products to ensure a faithful representation of species in the 10th century! The planting also had to look semi-destroyed – to show how it suffered because of the extremely heavy footfall in the area at the time.
The planting, therefore, was made to look weed-ridden and damaged, as if it had been permanently trampled on – the opposite of what we’re normally asked to do!
This really was a fascinating project, in which we took a great pride in helping to bring back to life the Jorvik Viking Centre.
To see more of the scenes in the village click here
Photography credit: Jorvik Centre/Richard McDougall (YorkMix.com)