A 1,000-YEAR-OLD Viking river boat made from an oak tree log will go on show at the Yorkshire Museum in York for the Jorvik Viking Festival.

Families are being invited to go along to see the boat during the half-term holiday and to take part in activities, including one in which they will be given the opportunity to make their own Viking boats and another following a prize quiz trail around the museum for the chance to win a piece of replica Viking jewellery.

The 18-foot log boat, dating from about 950, was discovered in 1838 in the foundations of the Stanley Ferry Aqueduct, near Wakefield, which crosses the River Calder.

It was found upside down alongside many trunks of large oak trees nearly two metres below the river bed.

Andrew Morrison, curator of archaeology for York Museums Trust, said: "This log boat was made out of half an oak tree. The tree was first cut in two, then the centre of the tree was removed and the outer part shaped to act as a boat. This boat then had 11 ribs added to strengthen the hull. Even though the boat is made of oak, it is very fragile and needs custom-made supports to keep it from falling apart."

The museum still has the letter it received from Mr J H Hodson, of the Aire and Calder Navigation Office, Goole, in 1840, when the boat was donated to the museum.

Viking activities will be available for children visiting the Yorkshire Museum, from February 5 to 20.

The museum opens daily between 10am and 5pm. For more details of activities and events, phone 01904 687687.

Updated: 10:32 Thursday, February 03, 2005