Tuesday, 23 August 2016

The Galloway Viking Hoard

The Galloway Hoard is a hoard of more than 100 gold and silver objects from the Viking age discovered in Dumfries and Galloway in south-west Scotland in September 2014. The hoard has been described by experts as one of the most significant Viking hoards ever found in Scotland.
It was discovered by a metal detector enthusiast who reported the find to the authorities. A county archaeologist carried out an excavation which revealed the presence of a variety of jewellery from various parts of the Viking world. It is thought that the hoard was buried some time in the mid-ninth or tenth century.

The hoard consists of a variety of gold and silver objects including armbands, a Christian cross, brooches, ingots, and what is possibly the largest silver Carolingian pot ever discovered. The items among the treasure originated across a wide geographic area that includes Ireland, Scandinavia, and central Europe.
Medieval texts date the arrival of the Vikings in the British Isles to the 790s A.D., when fierce raiders appeared along the coasts, plundering rich monasteries and terrorizing local communities. During the three centuries that followed, ambitious Viking chiefs and their followers arrived to conquer and colonize territories in England, Ireland, Wales, and Scotland, until they and their descendants were finally defeated or assimilated.

Around the early 10th century Viking forces had suffered a serious setback in Ireland, and local Galloway folklore “referred to a Viking army being defeated by a Scots army” at a Galloway locale.
In the upper layer, the team excavated a gold, bird-shaped pin as well as 67 silver ingots and arm rings, many produced by metalworkers in Ireland. This portable silver served as ready cash in the Viking world: the elite hacked off pieces to buy cattle or other commodities, reward loyal followers, or “pay off the troops” in Viking mercenary armies.
Three inches below that trove, researchers found the Carolingian pot, a lidded metal vessel buried upside down, perhaps to keep out ground water. It turned out to be packed with treasures, many carefully swathed in leather and fine textiles. Only six of these Carolingian vessels have ever been found, and many scholars believe they were used during important ceremonies in the Catholic Church.

The hoard has some similarities with other Viking finds, but its mixture of gold, silver, glass, enamel, and textiles is unique