VIKINGS may normally be thought of as violent barbarians - but a forthcoming festival is set to showcase their more civilised traits.

The JORVIK Viking Festival 2020, hosted by the Jorvik Viking Centre, will highlight how a unique approach to trading, raiding and exploring made the Vikings one of the most influential people of the early medieval period.

Festival manager Gareth Henry said: “The view of Vikings as thoughtless barbarians is very far from the truth. They were very much part of a global trade in luxury goods for several centuries.”

Visitors will have the opportunity to look at their boats and the chance to check out a range of products created by Viking craftspeople.

The stories of four Vikings, Bjorn Ironsides, Ingvar the Far Travelled, Gudrid and Ibn Fadlan, who will be played by actors, will be woven throughout the festival, from the Banquet of the Voyagers at the Merchant Adventurer’s Hall, to the parade of hundreds of Vikings through the city streets.

Gareth added: “Whilst written records made by the Vikings are relatively few, they did cross paths with notable scholars. Stories of Viking travellers and warriors will be at the heart of this year’s festival, showing how the Vikings were part of a rich, multicultural society.”

The festival will also feature a programme of family-friendly activities to fill the week of the half-term holiday, including a living history encampment in Parliament Street and St Sampson’s Square. The full programme will be released in early 2020.

The 2020 JORVIK Viking Festival, titled ‘Voyages of the Vikings’, will run from Saturday, February15 to Sunday, February 23.

The event is organised and funded entirely by York Archaeological Trust, a registered educational charity, with no external funding.