Experience the Viking world

Virtual Reality of the Viking Great Army winter camp at Torksey recreated using latest research

The most realistic immersive experience ever created of the Viking world is revealed in a new exhibition at the Yorkshire Museum. Based on research conducted by the Universities of Sheffield and York, the Virtual Reality experience reveals what life was like in the camp of the Viking 'Great Army' at Torksey, Lincolnshire, in the winter of AD872-873.

New research by Professor Dawn Hadley from Sheffield's Department of Archaeology and Professor Julian Richards from the University of York has been used to create the first immersive views of life on the camp which includes ships being built on the shore, Vikings melting down stolen loot, manufacturing, trading and playing games. All the scenes are based on real objects found by archaeologists and metal detectorists at Torksey.

The visitor will be transported into this world and able to look around in a 360 degree landscape complete with conversations from the period.

Dawn Hadley, Sheffield Archaeology

The 3D images and soundscape will feature in an immersive experience as part of Viking: Rediscover the Legend, a major new exhibition in partnership with the British Museum.


Dawn Hadley, who leads the Sheffield side of the project, said: “The Torksey camp was much more than just a handful of hardy warriors – this was a huge base, larger than most contemporary towns, complete with traders, families, feasting and entertainment. From the finds we know, for example, that they were repairing their boats here and melting down looted gold and silver to make ingots – or bars of metal they used to trade. Metal detectorists have also found more than 300 lead game pieces, suggesting the Vikings, including, women and children, were spending a lot of time playing games to pass the time, waiting for spring and the start of their next offensive. The visitor will be transported into this world and able to look around in a 360 degree landscape complete with conversations from the period.”

Dr Gareth Beale from York’s Digital Creativity Labs added: “The new research by the University of York and Sheffield has been used to create the most realistic images of the camp to date, based on real findings. These images are also believed to be the most realistic Virtual Reality ever created anywhere of the Viking world.”


The Virtual Reality will feature alongside objects from the British Museum and Yorkshire Museum’s world class collections in the new exhibition, which aims to give fresh perspective on how Vikings shaped every aspect of life in Britain. It will include the most famous Viking hoards ever discovered in this country, including the Vale of York Viking Hoard, Cuerdale Hoard and the Bedale Hoard.

The exhibition opens at the Yorkshire Museum on May 19 until November 5 and then will go on tour to the University of Nottingham Museum, The Atkinson, Southport, Aberdeen Art Gallery and Norwich Castle Museum, dates to be announced shortly.

The research at Torksey has recently been made available as an Open Access publication Hadley, D.M. and Richards, J.D. (2016) ‘The Winter Camp of the Viking Great Army, AD 872-3, Torksey, Lincolnshire’, in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries 96, 23-67, which is downloadable from https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003581516000718

For more on the Viking Winter Camp at Torksey: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/archaeology/research/1.544746

For more information on the Yorkshire Museum: www.yorkshiremuseum.org.uk

Funding for research on the Viking winter camp at Torksey was provided by the British Academy, Society of Antiquaries of London and the Robert Kiln Trust.