Digital Narratives for Archaeology Research (DiNAR) Project

The DiNAR Project was a joint research project led by the Centre for Digital Heritage, Digital Creativity Labs and York Museums Trust.

The project was set up to produce innovative museum experiences based upon emerging technologies from the creative industries.

Viking: Rediscover the Legend exhibition

A major output of the DiNAR project was an AHRC and EPSRC funded VR component for the 2017 Viking: Rediscover the Legend exhibition at the Yorkshire Museum.

Through cinematic VR, museum visitors were able to experience immersive vignettes of life in the camp of the Viking Great Army at Torksey in Lincolnshire.

The project was informed by archaeological research at Torksey led by Julian Richards (University of York) and Dawn Hadley (University of York) and provided archaeological insight as well as emotive personal experiences.

DiNAR Project - Team meeting December 2016

The project team worked closely with the WEAVER Project, led by University of York’s Creativity Research Champion, Damian Murphy, to deliver a programme of engagement to regional creative practitioners, heritage professionals, VR researchers, and public audiences.

VR headsets

As part of the research for DiNAR, the team produced hand-made, custom-built VR headsets for use in a museums context. These headsets were designed to provide a robust and immersive experience of the VR scenes for the Winter Camp, whilst being in keeping with the ambience of the gallery space. Designed by Gareth Beale and Jon Hook, the headsets are predominately constructed from plywood. These were laser cut by Mark Hough in the School for Physics, Engineering and Technology. 

The headsets were then hand-finished by Nicole Beale and Gareth Beale. 

The finished headset:

Image by Chris Streek.

VR scenes - visualisation

The visualisations were produced by Guy Schofield, and are designed as stylised cinematic vignettes into daily life at Torksey. 

VR scenes - auralisation

Damian Murphy, Lewis Thresh and Kenneth Brown worked to develop the audio content for the VR scenes. Lewis Thresh engaged students and staff from Department of English and Related Literature and the Centre for Medieval Studies to record a Norse-speaking script that Julian Richards produced to accompany each of the four scenes. This dialogue has been supported with various sound design content that Lewis has prepared, such as ambiences, animals, and the sound of life in the camp, to complete the immersive experience of the VR scenes. Lewis and Ken worked to test and deliver these soundtracks binaurally, resulting in directional, interactive sound as the viewer moves their head, using headphones embedded in the headset. Damian and Lewis took elements of these soundtracks, together with additional location recordings, to build the soundscape heard in the room itself.

image by Chris Streek

Image by Chris Streek, York Museums Trust


Media coverage

We're delighted that the VikingVR exhibition had some great media coverage. A good place to start is the press release from the University of York:

Some of the articles about our work are listed below:

The Guardian

The Hindu


The Daily Mail

The Observer

The History Channel

The Yorkshire Post

The York Press

York Mix


Contact us

Centre for Digital Heritage