Journey's end for Jorvik centre's new arrivals

Rick Matthews unwraps state-of-the-art animatronic models of Vikings which arrived at one of York's most popular tourist attractions yesterday after they were transported across the Atlantic.

The Norse characters have been delivered to the city’s Jorvik Viking Centre after a 4,000-mile journey from Ohio where the lifelike animatronics were created by specialists at the US firm, Life Formations.

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The new models include Sigurd the antler worker, Unni the woodworker, two Viking builders, an arguing couple and even a rat which will now be on show once a 1m facelift of the centre is completed next month.

All of the characters are based on archaeological evidence from the York Archaeological Trust’s famous Coppergate dig, on which the Jorvik centre now stands. The models will talk directly to visitors in Old Norse, voiced by students from York University. The American company behind the technology has worked with visitor attractions across the world including Disneyland, the Hollywood Wax Museum and Ripley’s Auditoriums.

The York tourist attraction will be re-launched on February 13 to kick-start the 25th Jorvik Viking Festival, which will see 500 Norse re-enactors and 40,000 visitors descend on the city. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.