AN exhibition is being launched which shows the more domestic side of the once-feared Vikings.

Fearsome Craftsmen explores the skills and artistry of the 10th-Century residents of York.

And the city's world-famous Jorvik Centre will also be letting visitors get some hands-on experience to discover how many of the artefacts were actually made.

The York Archaeological Trust's work at Coppergate in the 1970s and early 1980s revealed that there were several craftsmen working on this site in years gone by, making everyday objects such as shoes, bowls, spoons, combs, brooches and glass beads, as well as spinning, weaving and dyeing fabrics.

During their long excavations, archaeologists found everything from raw materials to finished objects as evidence of the original inhabitants' craft-making activities.

And from tomorrow craftsmen will be on hand at the exhibition to demonstrate different skills such as weaving, braiding and carving.

Visitors will be given the opportunity to try out simple crafts themselves.

For children, there will also be some special activities, including recreating their name in runes, stone rubbings, colouring activities and the chance to dress as a Viking.

"Despite the Vikings being known for being fierce warriors, they were actually brilliantly skilled craftsmen," said exhibition curator, Jane Stockdale.

"The aim of this exhibition is to guide visitors through the range of Viking-age crafts and crafting techniques in what we think will be a highly informative and fun look at the skilled side of Viking life."

The Fearsome Craftsmen exhibition opens to the public tomorrow (Sat APR 12) and admission is included in the normal entry price.

Visits to Jorvik can be pre-booked by telephoning (01904) 543403.

Full details about the centre can be found on the website at or by telephoning (01904) 643211.