VIKING times are being brought to life at the Grosvenor Museum in Chester by a new exhibition which showcases the city's rich history and its significant status during the era.

The Reap and Tillage exhibition is the main event of the city’s four-month-long Viking Festival, running until January 9, 2011.

The exciting display has been part-funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and features exhibits from national museums, as well as interactive activities, impressive artwork and re-constructions.

Liz Royles, the exhibition curator and Keeper of Early History at Grosvenor Museum, has been delighted by what the exhibition has been able to achieve.

“We've got items from all over the country,” said Liz. “Museums around the North West have donated from their permanent collections, so we've been able to put together a really great display.”

Highlights of the exhibition include the ‘Huxley Hoard’ – a collection of well-preserved silver arm rings that were buried in a field near Tattenhall more than 1,000 years ago, and discovered in 2005, and a pair of ancient ice-skates crafted out of bone.

The exhibition also boasts an excellent collection of coins, ingots, and pieces of cut silver that were used as currency, as well as the items that the Vikings would have bought with them.

“Chester was the only urban centre in the North West during the Viking era,” added Liz. “It was a very prosperous port, and a lot of trade went on around the area.”

The museum will also play host to an exhibition of jewellery and crafts by designers from Norway on November 13, and on November 20 there will be a conference featuring up-to-date leading experts discussing the evidence for Vikings presence and settlement in the North West.

For more information on any of the events, call the museum on 01244 402033. The exhibition and all of the events are free of charge, but some events require pre-booking.