The Viking hoard

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Findings from a dig in Dumghie, south of Crossmichael Castle Douglas, Dumfries. Balmaghie

Findings from a dig in Dumghie, south of Crossmichael Castle Douglas, Dumfries. Balmaghie

If you were watching BBC 4’s Digging for Britain last Thursday night you will have seen some intriguing Viking treasures that were found in a field in Scotland.

A metal detectorist, Derek McClennan, found them in 2014 but it is only know that the importance of the find is being realised.

As the finds aren’t on display, the only way to see them is to watch the programme on i-Player when it becomes available in a few days’ time. What this series has shown is that in the last few years, major finds are being made that are changing the way we think about our past.

The Staffordshire hoard that is now partially on display in both Birmingham and Stoke-on-Trent seems to have raised awareness in the minds of the public of our varied past. Finds in Cambridgeshire last year and now in Galloway are revealing that this time in our past was not as “dark” as historians once believed.

Interpreting this information takes time but visitors want to see what is available when they hear about it. That the treasure from Galloway might not appear in museums for years doesn’t help them foster a relationship with the public because in a year’s time the public will have forgotten about them.  The next best thing is what has been arranged;  a series of images will give the public a chance to see the Viking treasure for the first time, following a painstaking conservation project to remove and conserve the rare items, which date from 9th-10th centuries AD.

and the contents

and the contents

Stuart Campbell of the Treasure Trove Unit said that the hoard is the most important Viking discovery in Scotland for over 100 years. The items from within the vessel, which may have been accumulated over a number of generations, reveal objects from across Europe and from other cultures with non-Viking origins. The hoard includes six silver Anglo-Saxon disc brooches of early 9th century date, equal in itself to the largest such hoard of brooches from England, the Pentney hoard in the British Museum.

Other material includes a silver penannular brooch from Ireland, Byzantium silk from around modern-day Istanbul, a gold ingot and some gold and crystal objects that have been carefully wrapped in cloth bundles. Other material includes a silver brooch from Ireland, Byzantium silk from around modern-day Istanbul, a gold ingot and some gold and crystal objects that have been carefully wrapped in cloth bundles.

That we are still discovering finds of this value, in both historical and monetary terms should be surprising given the amount of archaeological interest over the last few hundred years. What will be visiting in another hundred years that has yet to be discovered?

 

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