Norway has bestowed one of its highest honours on a York man - for events that took place more than 1,000 years ago.

Dr Peter Addyman, who was director of York Archaeological Trust and the man behind the city's world-famous Jorvik Viking Centre, was presented with the Insignia of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit by the Norwegian Ambassador, His Excellency Tarald O Brautaset.

The ceremony took place at York's Mansion House at a reception held in Dr Addyman's honour, attended by York's civic party and Norwegian guests in the city for the Jorvik Festival.

Dr Addyman was founding director of the archaeological trust, which carried out the five-year Coppergate Project, a dig between 1976 and 1981 on the site of what is now the Coppergate Centre. It unearthed some of the most significant Viking remains in the world.

Mr O Brautaset said Dr Addyman more than anyone else had used his skills to locate and unearth the remains of Viking life in York in a 200-year period between 866 and 1066, enabling Britain and Norway to better understand their past and strengthening the relationship between the two countries.

Dr Addyman said York had been the centre of a vast Viking empire in the west, and was still considered by hordes of Norwegian visitors as a little outpost of Norway.

Updated: 08:40 Monday, February 23, 2004