Dossier of Discovery: Hagar was Here: Viking Graffiti

article by Julie Murphy , photo by Alamy

Learning Intention:

I am learning to identify different cultural viewpoints from a text so that I can include them in creating a visual text.


Success Criteria:

  • I can complete a KWL chart based on the Vikings and the text.
  • I can use information in the text to create quiz questions that show my understanding of aspects of the Viking culture.
  • I can understand the purpose and reason behind recording these messages and use this as a stimulus to create my own Viking Runes message.

As a class, read the text; Dossier of Discovery Hagar was here: Viking Graffiti.

After reading, ask students to create a KWL chart in their student workbook. A KWL chart (K-What I already know about the topic, W-What I wonder, L-What I learned from the text) is a graphic organiser that allows the students to read the text with meaning and connect with any prior knowledge they may have on the topic.

Collate the class answers in a KWL chart, with the heading -Vikings.

To check understanding of the text, create a class quiz for the students, written by the students. Hand out a card such as an index card or a half page of lined paper. Ask the students to write down five questions and on the back five answers that they think would be good in a class quiz for this text.


Questions could include:

1.Name the Scottish tomb discovered in 1861. (Answer: Maeshowe)

2.What Island group did the Vikings rule? (Answer: The Orkney Islands)

3.What is the ancient letters of the Viking alphabet called? (Answer: Runes)

4.Name three materials that the Vikings carved into to record their messages. (Answer: Rock, bone, wood)

5.How old was the burial chamber that was discovered in the Scottish Orkney Islands? (Answer: Over 5000 years old)


Investigating Viking Runes.

Investigate the Viking, using the Australian National Maritime Museum site- Viking Society. On this page, students can look at the Viking Runes (Language) and write their name using the rune key. If a letter from their name is missing, they can include the traditional Roman letter that we use in our English alphabet.


Recall with students the types of messages the Vikings recorded in the tomb. Discuss what the purpose of these messages were. Answers may include:

  • Reflect and recall loved ones.
  • Jokes to help lighten the mood when on treacherous journeys.
  • Acknowledge to others that they have been in this location to create a sense of importance and relevance.
  • Share opinions and concepts that people feel very passionate about.


Co-construct with students the writing of a message using ones of the themes mentioned. E.g., Why are the dark ages named so? Because they have so many knights. Model the translation into Viking Runes from the link above which will take you to the Australian National Maritime Museum website.


Encourage children to independently create a message that could be recorded into Runes, using one of the discussed purposes for writing graffiti.


Allow time for children to share their messages through a gallery walk at the end of the lesson.