Detail of NW retaining wall showing ship timbersArchaeologists in York have uncovered a Viking house at Hungate earlier this month. The building dates from the mid to late 10th century and is of the same type as those found at Coppergate during excavations in the late 1970s and early 1980s – now part of the famous JORVIK Viking Centre.

The newly discovered timber lined cellar belongs to a two storey Viking home. Comparing the new find at Hungate with the style and date (c.AD 970) of those from the Coppergate settlement, archaeologists believe it may indicate the furthermost reaches of the Viking town of Jorvik, stretching along the River Foss. Also found near the site, providing more evidence of Anglo-Scandinavian life in York, were bone ice skates, fragments of combs and a rare small glass bead.

‘To find these timbers so well preserved is very exciting,’ commented Peter Connelly, Project Director of the Hungate excavations. ‘When you think that somebody built this timber-lined cellar more than 1,000 years ago, it is rather amazing to have such a glimpse into the past. Viking cellars were used in different ways by different people, much in the same way as cellars are used today. Craftspeople appear to have worked out of their cellars as well as using them for storage, with the living quarters on the floor above.”

 For more on this article, go to Current Archeology 225

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