Sunday, 13 December 2015

Watlington Viking Hoard Unearthed in Oxfordshire

A rare Viking hoard of arm rings, coins and silver ingots has been unearthed in Oxfordshire. The hoard was buried near Watlington around the end of the 870s, in the time of the "Last Kingdom".

The Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex were fighting for their survival from the threat of the Vikings, which was to lead to the unification of England. The hoard is being called a "nationally significant find".
The hoard was probably buried in the late 870s, when the Anglo-Saxons began to push the Vikings north of the Thames into East Anglia. Prior to 878, the Vikings had been increasing raids from Denmark. The Anglo Saxons began to re-establish their rule over southern England and won a decisive battle at Edington in 878.

Experts speculate that a Viking fleeing the Anglo Saxons after this battle buried it on his way north, on the ancient road from East Anglia to Wiltshire and Dorset.
The hoard consists of 186 coins - some fragmentary - and includes rarities from the reign of King Alfred "the Great" of Wessex, who reigned from 871 to 899, and King Ceolwulf II, who reigned in Mercia from 874 to 879.