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Anglo Saxons and Vikings

This gallery is currently closed due to building works for the Royal Palace Reborn project.

Dangerous and turbulent, this was the time when many aspects of modern day English culture took root; ‘England’ is derived from the name ‘Anglia’ - the land of the Angles.

Norwich Castle has one of the best collections of Anglo-Saxon material in the country, and over 900 superb objects are on display in the gallery.

Among these is the mysterious 'Spong Man', a 6th century ceramic cremation pot lid. Excavated from Spong Hill, North Elmham in Norfolk, it is the earliest known three-dimensional depiction of an Anglo-Saxon person.

One of the most spectacular items on display is one of the smallest: a tiny, double-sided gold seal bearing a depiction of the 7th century Frankish Queen Bathild on one side and a secret, erotic scene on the other. It is likely it was owned by the Queen herself and was found in a Norfolk field in 1999. 

See jewellery worn by men and women to display their status, items of leisure such as gaming pieces and bone flutes, and the weaponry and horse equipment which tell the story of the invasion and warfare that marked this period. 

In addition to the objects, the gallery has a range of interactives and activities, specially designed to enhance the displays and offer new ways of exploring the story. Dress in Anglo-Saxon clothes and write your name in Runes, play our specially designed Viking game ‘Trade and Raid’, or listen to some Anglo-Saxon poetry spoken in Old English!

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