Discovery Chests from Ceolred Monger

Our Discovery Chests are designed to give you a flexible resource to enhance your Keystage 2 history topics and open links to other curricular areas.

Your pupils will be enthralled by the visual and tactile feast revealed on opening the chest. The contents will lead them to discover the skills to record and describe them, find out what they are made of and to explore their function. They will want to understand more about the background to the artefacts and how they relate to each other.

You will find it an invaluable tool in inspiring descriptive and creative writing, artwork, understanding of history, investigative reading, research using IT and technology and many other learning outcomes.

Choose from:

Roman - A Roman Soldier's chest c. AD313

Anglo-Saxon - An Anglo-Saxon trader's chest c. AD870

Viking - A Norse trader's chest of c. AD1000

For example:

Viking Discovery Chest

A Norse trader's chest of about AD1000

A self-contained group of replica items designed to give a broad insight into life in Anglo-Norse England

In a sturdy wooden chest - (with optional wrought iron hinges and hasp fastened with a lock in the Viking style). This type of chest would serve equally in a house, workshop or on a ship.

The chest contains an intriguing mix of personal items, some domestic, some associated with travel and trade.

It is designed to give educators an easy to use resource that links to a wide range of potential topics and follow-up activitiesd

Content details:

Eating and drinking equipment

Pottery jar - containing oats.

Wooden bowl

Bone spoon

Drinking horn

Wrought iron skillet/griddle

Personal items:

Woollen cloak with brooch

Sheepskin chest lining

Lamp with beeswax

Sewing kit

Coins, ingots and 'hack' jewellery

Glass beads


Using the Viking Discovery Chest

The Discovery Chest has been designed to give you a flexible resource, which will add an exiting stimulus supporting many areas of curricular work.

All items in the Discovery Chest have been designed to be safe for use in a supervised classroom environment. If properly supervised, the lamp may be lit creating an evocative light to your classroom and a subtle aroma of beeswax.


Leave the chest, unopened, in a prominent position for a day or so. Get pupils to help carry and position it. Let it become an object of fascination by speculating about its contents.

Make opening the chest a special event - appoint a few 'archaeologists' to open it and describe to others what they see before getting the things out.


The items in the Discovery Chest are intended to have both familiar and unfamiliar properties. Encourage pupils to explore these by drawing, making rubbings, measuring, describing and using the objects.

Get them to make lists of:

the contents and what they think they were used for

the materials used and where they came from

the people who would have made the various items

what 'we' use instead of these things


Encourage your students to consider:

who might have had a group of items like this - male or female? trader, settler or raider?

why keep them in a chest?

using the evidence to work out what Vikings ate and drank (horn = cow = milk, cheese, butter, meat, etc.)?

looking for similarities and differences with things we have now. For example - what might the Viking have had for a meal (porridge with honey and milk, in a wooden bowl with bone spoon?) and yourself?


Make up a story or play about a Viking, making sure all the items in the chest are included.

Using the evidence in the chest describe the home, community and environment of the owner of the chest - makers of the items, animals and plants. Use the evidence to speculate about people they met or other things they may have had.

The chest may be a travelling trader's baggage. Where was he going? With who else? Why? And what else will he need?

Above all make using the chest an enjoyable experience for you and your group.

Types of Discovery Chest

The discovery chest is available in two styles:

The standard version has a plain wooden lid without hinges

The de-luxe version has iron chest fittings and a period style lock

Each Discovery Chest can be tailored for your specific needs - perhaps you need it to represent local finds? Or for a specific date from your local history? Let us know and we will discuss how we can modify the contents to suit your needs.

Cost for each Discovery Chest is from 300 plus delivery