Anglo-Saxon & Viking Gallery
The gallery tells the story of the fascinating period between the withdrawal of the Romans in 410AD and the 1066 Norman Conquest. Dangerous and turbulent, this was also the time when many aspects of modern day English culture took root – the word ‘England’ derives from the name ‘Anglia’, the land of the Angles.
Norwich Castle has one of the best collections of Anglo-Saxon material in the country. Designated by the government as being of outstanding quality, the collection contains a huge variety of objects of beauty and historic significance. Over 900 of these treasures are on display in the gallery.
Among these is 'Spong Man' a 6th century cermaic cremation pot lid, pictured right. It was excavated from Spong Hill, North Elmham in Norfolk and is the earliest known three-dimensional depiction of an Anglo-Saxon person, making it far more signifcant than the remaining 2,500 cremation urns in our collection.
Other grave goods on display, include a magnificent collection of elaborate brooches.
A spectacular, if tiny, double-sided gold seal depicts Queen Bathild on one side and a fascinating erotic scene on the reverse. This may well have been owned by Bathild - the 7th century Frankish Queen.
Such objects help us to understand the nature of Anglo Saxon & Viking occupation in Norfolk. Items of personal dress including beautiful jewellery; gaming pieces and a bone flute give insights into leisure pursuits. Whilst impressive weapons and horse equipment tell a story of invasion and warfare.
In addition to the objects, there are a range of interactives and activities, specially designed to enhance the displays and offer new ways of exploring the story. Children can dress in Anglo-Saxon clothes and write their name in Runes, whilst older visitors can read more about the period, play our specially designed Viking game ‘Trade and Raid’ or listen to some Anglo-Saxon poetry spoken in Old English!
See also: Anglo Saxon and Viking Gallery Trail