In 1976 in York, England, builders excavating ground for the foundations of a new shopping centre at Coppergate came to a sudden stop when they found they had uncovered the remains of a 1000 year old Viking settlement known as Jorvik. It soon turned out to be the site of one of the significant discoveries of modern archaeology. Thousands of artefacts were unearthed, including the Coppergate Viking helmet, as well as actual timbers and skeletons that had been preserved beneath the mud. Over the next five years archaeologists from York Archaeological Trust uncovered many more houses, workshops and backyards untouched for all that time.
In rare circumstances of compromise, the developers and archaeologist worked together and were able to rebuild much of the settlement, as well as construct the fabulous Jorvik Viking Centre on the very site where the excavations had taken place, beneath the Coppergate Shopping Centre. It really is an amazing experience travelling back through time in bumper cars through the recreated Viking streets populated with life-like models, smoke and sounds and the smells of cooking, tanning and dunnies. The centre had become a huge success with millions of people and line upon line of school children coming to experience their own little taste of Viking life.