The Valhalla: In Search of the Viking Dead exhibition in York, curated by York Archaeological Trust in association with the Chapter of York Minster and Manx National Heritage, takes a broad brush to examine the archaeological evidence for Viking burial in the British Isles using illustrative material from the recent Hungate excavations in York and the Isle of Man.
First impressions are excellent, the exhibition utilises the space in the former shop well with nicely lit displays and professionally designed boards, and is well positioned round the corner from the famous Jorvik Viking Centre. The intention of the exhibition is obviously to build upon the groundwork of knowledge established by other presentations in and around York, particularly Jorvik, exploring the more esoteric, religious aspects of Viking life in the city and elsewhere. During our visit we were fortunate enough to catch one of the excellent tours by one of the attendants (dressed in Viking garb) who provided an engaging and entertaining overview of the Viking burial evidence in Britain. This highlighted the continued importance of the well-informed guide when compared to more consistent, and often dehumanised, audio-visual displays which have become the vogue in many museum presentations.