Invaders - Anglo-Saxons and Vikings

Get ready to discover the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings in this hands-on workshop. Pupils have the 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. 

This workshop, which was previously at World Museum, is now held at the Museum of Liverpool. 

Workshop details

During the workshop pupils will closely examine our collection of replica objects to discover more about the lives, experiences and technology of the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings. Please note that one of our group activities recreates an archaeological burial site in miniature, using a replica human skeleton with associated grave goods. The real importance of treating people from the past with the utmost care and respect is at the heart of our message during this workshop.

After an initial introduction by a member of museum staff, the class 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:

  • Daily 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.
  • Clues from the grave: A chance to imagine yourself at the site of an archaeological dig where we have unearthed an Anglo-Saxon or Viking burial.  What has survived from the past, what has not, and why? Think like a scientist to identify the different materials present, what objects they represent, and what they can tell us about their life.
  • What would you wear? Weaving, weapons, and armour: How would you have dressed in an Anglo-Saxon or Viking community?  And where would you have got your clothing from?  Have a go at some weaving and think more closely about the skills and time needed for things we take for granted! Also, feel the weight of our replica chain mail, helmet, and sword.
  • Local language and place names: Both the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons are still around today in a lot of the words we use every day. Discover more about our local area and the secrets in our place names, as well as have a go at writing in runes!

Practical information for your visit

Visiting the Museum of Liverpool - information for groups (pdf)

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 four adults for this workshop. If you don’t bring this ratio of adults we may still be able to run the workshop but it won’t unfortunately involve the same level of interactivity for the young people.

Please arrive on time for your workshop or we may not be able to run it for you. Please share these notes with your adult helpers before your visit. This will help them to support your pupils have a successful and enjoyable day.

Image © Pete Carr

Curriculum links


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

SMSC - Fundamental British Values

Individual liberty:

  • Through the participative approach in the session individual liberty is promoted by enabling students to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence. This also promotes mutual respect as children listen to and begin to respect each others contributions.

Mutual respect and tolerance:

  • By understanding the Museum’s rules about how to handle ancient artefacts tolerance and respect are encouraged.
  • By investigating a wide range of everyday objects from the home, battlefield, and places of work children develop their understanding of different ways of life thus promoting respect and tolerance of cultures differing from their own.

Social skills:

  • Students develop their social skills as they work together in role play activities to become armoured soldiers or Viking explorers.

Rule of law:

  • As students discover the impact and power invaders had over newly acquired territories they develop their understanding of the rules of law.

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.
  • 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:

  • see the Museum of Liverpool as a resource for historical research to help understand the ancient world.