JORVIK Viking Festival: IMS Volunteers

Two University of Leeds IMS students, Clementine Harper (IMS MA) and Rachael Gillibrand (IMS PhD Researcher) volunteered at the JORVIK Viking Festival in York.

The JORVIK Viking Festival is recognised as the largest event of its kind in Europe, and is a city-wide celebration of York's rich Norse heritage. This week-long commemoration of a seminal moment in British History, the arrival and conquest of England by the Great Viking Army in AD 866, offers an exciting programme of events every year exploring the impact of the Viking invasion on Anglo-Saxon England. This year's festival ran from 12-18 February 2018. 

Clementine Harper, an IMS MA student and avid knitter with a fondness for textiles, volunteered to perform textile demonstrations: 'I was given the opportunity to learn several ancient techniques as part of my training for the role, including lucet braiding and nalbinding, which I have kept up with since the festival ended'. Harper explained that visitors of all ages and backgrounds were interested in the display and trying the techniques themselves. 

Rachael Gillibrand, an IMS PhD researcher studying physical impairment in the Middle Ages, volunteered as a 'Handlings Collection Guide.' In this capacity, Gillibrand explained she was able to show visitors real archaeological finds from the 1976 Coppergate excavation of Jorvik. Highlights included: 'a knife blade, glass beads, Amber fragments, hone stones, and - the crowd pleaser! - fragments of coprolite [fossilized feces]'. Gillibrand was also excited to work alongside Leeds IMS alumni Benedict Frankish and Chris Tuckley. 

Overall, Harper stated volunteering was 'a wonderful experience, and I hope to help out at another event soon'. Gillibrand agreed: 'I met so many lovely people'. 

For more information about the JORVIK Viking Festival, see the website here.