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Invaders - Anglo-Saxons and Vikings

Key facts

  • Suitable for: Key Stage 2
  • Subjects: History, Science
  • Session type: Museum led
  • Duration: 50 minutes minutes
  • Class size (maximum): 30
  • Venue: World Museum
  • Free


This hands-on workshop offers pupils an opportunity to examine and handle replica objects that have been made in the same way as the originals.  Using their powers of deduction, pupils will become junior museum archaeologists to discover what the objects reveal about the people who lived in Britain more than 1000 years ago. 

Further details

During the workshop, pupils will examine materials and then handle real artefacts including a chain mail shirt, sword, helmet, weaving loom, bone needle, spindle, comb, bowls, spoons, key, brooches, coins and leather shoes. 

After an initial introduction by a member of the museum staff, the group will be divided into four smaller groups to take on the role of archaeologists as they look at and handle the artefacts.  

The workshop will look at four main topics:

  • Everyday life. Pupils match a selection of objects to everyday Viking or Anglo-Saxon tasks eg a tallow lamp with lighting the home; a bone needle with sewing or working with leather; a coin with trading; wooden and pottery bowls with eating.
  • Materials. A detailed look at materials used to make objects the pupils will see in the Anglo-Saxon displays including, garnet, amethyst, quartz, iron, amber, bone and pottery.
  • Weaving. Pupils will have a go at weaving and discover some of the plants that were used to make red, blue and yellow dyes.
  • Clothing and armour. Pupils will feel the weight of chain mail, a sword, shield and helmet. 

We need adult help to ensure the pupils have the best possible experience and to ensure the safety of the artefacts. For this reason you must bring at least one adult per eight children for this session.  If you don’t bring this ratio of adults we may still be able to run the session but it won’t unfortunately involve the same level of interactivity for the young people.

This workshop can be linked with:

  • A self-led visit to the Anglo-Saxon displays on level 3. 

Curriculum links

Key Stage 2 – History

  • Britain’s settlement by Anglo-Saxons
  • Viking raids and invasion

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

Pupils will:

  • develop their chronological knowledge and understanding of British and local history.
  • note connections, contrasts and trends over time.
  • understand  characteristic features of the periods and societies studied, including the ideas, beliefs, attitudes and experiences of men, women and children in the past.
  • understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources.


Pupils will:

  • recognise and identify artefacts used in the sessions and some of the evidence they reveal about life in the past.
  • begin to recognise that the past is represented and interpreted in different ways, and to give reasons for this.
  • begin to recall, select and organise historical information.
  • develop the use of appropriate historical terms.
  • address and devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity and difference, and significance.
  • give reasoned answers backed up by evidence.
  • improve their speaking and listening skills in a group discussion context.


Pupils will:

  • be introduced to the work of an archaeologist.
  • be introduced to the work of curators and the reasons why the museum has a collection of objects from the past.
  • appreciate that some of the objects they will see are over a thousand years old.
  • realise why we use replicas, that have been made in the same way as the ancient items, for a handling workshop.
  • understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources.


Pupils will:

  • appreciate that the objects the see are over a thousands years old and the ones they handle are replicas that have been made in the same way.
  • see World Museum as a resource for historical research to help understand  the ancient world.