A virtual reality experience giving users an opportunity to experience what life was like in a Viking army camp (pictured) has been unveiled at the Yorkshire Museum
A huge camp that was home to thousands of Vikings as they prepared to conquer England has been uncovered in rural fields.
The base was used in the winter months by the Nordic raiders to repair their longships, melt down stolen loot, trade and play games, 1,145 years ago.
Now research has been used to create a realistic virtual reality experience of the Viking world as part of a new exhibition.
Archaeologists at the Universities of Sheffield and York have been studying the encampment, established in Torksey on the banks of the River Trent in Lincolnshire, in the late ninth century.
The findings show that thousands of Viking warriors, women and children lived temporarily at the camp in tents from 872 to 873 AD.
And they have now been used to create a virtual reality experience giving users an opportunity to experience what life was like in a Viking army camp.
It has been developed by the University of York and is part of an exhibition at the Yorkshire Museum that opens tomorrow.
Visitors to the museum will wear VR headsets which will bring the sights and sounds of the camp back to life.
Professor Julian Richards, from the university, said: 'These extraordinary images offer a fascinating snap shot of life at a time of great upheaval in Britain.
'The Vikings had previously often raided exposed coastal monasteries and returned to Scandinavia in winter, but in the later ninth century they came in larger numbers, and decided to stay.
'This sent a very clear message that they now planned not only to loot and raid - but to control and conquer.'
All the scenes featured are based on real objects found by archaeologists and metal detectorists at the Torksey site.
Research leader Professor Dawn Hadley, of Sheffield University's Department of Archaeology, added: 'The Vikings' camp at Torksey was much more than just a handful of hardy warriors.
The Vikings had previously often raided exposed coastal monasteries and returned to Scandinavia in winter, but in the later ninth century they came in larger numbers, and decided to stay at Torksey (pictured)
Thousands of Viking warriors, women and children lived in tents (pictured) at a camp established in Torksey on the banks of the River Trent in Lincolnshire, between 872 and 873 AD
'This was a huge base, larger than most contemporary towns, complete with traders, families, feasting, and entertainment.
'From what has been found at the site, we know they were repairing their boats there and melting down looted gold and silver to make ingots - or bars of metal they used to trade.
'Metal detectorists have also found more than 300 lead game pieces, suggesting the Vikings, including, women and children, were spending a lot of time playing games to pass the time, waiting for spring and the start of their next offensive.'
The exact location and scale of the camp has been debated for many years, but the new research has begun to reveal the true extent of the camp.
The Vikings melted down looted gold and silver to make ingots or bars of metal they used to trade, as well as jewellery (pictured)
It is now thought to cover at least 136 acres (55 hectares), which is larger than many towns and cities of the time, including York, and is about the same size as 75 football pitches.
There have also been more than 1,000 finds by metal detectorists and archaeologists, including over 300 coins.
They include more than 100 Arabic silver coins which would have come to the area through established Viking trade routes.
The boats (pictured) arrived at camp via the Trent river which flows alongside it. By staying at the site this sent a clear message to locals that the Vikings now planned to control and conquer rather than just loot and raid
From what has been found at the site, experts suggest the Vikings were repairing their boats (pictured) at the Torksey site
More than 50 pieces of chopped up silver, including brooch fragments and ingots have been found along with rare hack-gold, chunks of cut and bent gold items treated as currency.
Evidence has been found that these items were being processed at the camp - chopped up to be melted down.
Other finds include 300 gaming pieces, iron tools, spindle whorls, needles and fishing weights.
There have been more than 1,000 finds by metal detectorists and archaeologists at the site (selection pictured), including more than 300 coins, iron tools, spindle whorls, needles and fishing weights
Around 300 lead game pieces and 50 pieces of chopped up silver and gold, known as hack-gold (pictured) was found at Torksey
Among the selection of coins found were Islamic dirhams (pictured) which would have come to the area through established Viking trade routes
Using landscape analysis, researchers have also been able to reveal the topography of the camp.
With the River Trent to the west and surrounding land prone to flooding to this day, they said its strength as a defensive position becomes clear.
The full findings were published in The Antiquaries Journal.