“This is the world in a vessel”

Those Vikings are still coming.. one island at a time.. but hopefully no-one’s told them about the wondrous Viking treasure hoard found in North Yorkshire by a father and son metal-detecting duo. The British Museum has been at work conserving the find and the items uncovered have revealed the extent of the Vikings’ reach

The conservation work has revealed that like other Viking hoards of the period, it contains a mixture of different precious metal objects, including coins, complete ornaments, ingots (bars) and chopped-up fragments known as hack-silver. The hoard also shows the diversity of cultural contacts in the medieval world, with objects coming from as far apart as Afghanistan in the East and Ireland in the West, as well as Russia, Scandinavia and continental Europe.

From the British Museum press release

The most spectacular single object is a gilt silver vessel, made in what is now France in the first half of the ninth century. It was apparently intended for use in church services, and was probably either looted from a monastery by Vikings, or given to them in tribute. Most of the smaller objects were hidden inside this vessel, which was itself protected by some form of lead container. As a result, the hoard was extremely well-preserved. Other star objects include a rare gold arm-ring, and over 600 coins, including several new or rare types. These provide valuable new information about the history of England in the early tenth century, as well as Yorkshire’s wider cultural contacts in the period. Interestingly, the hoard contains coins relating to Islam and to the pre-Christian religion of the Vikings, as well as to Christianity.

The hoard was probably buried for safety by a wealthy Viking leader during the unrest that followed the conquest of the Viking kingdom of Northumbria in AD 927 by the Anglo-Saxon king Athelstan (924-39).

That would be this wondrous gilt silver vessel

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  • Talk about a wonderful find.. on so many levels. It’s nice to see them be rewarded and the museum/historians have another slice of life to look at. I can’t imagine what it was like to find those!

    Thanks for sharing that article.
    DetectorBase – Metal Detecting Experiences.

  • Gréagóir O’ Franclín

    A fabulous find! The metal work surely influenced by the exotic Middle East and Africa as the like of the Ardagh Chalice, etc…

  • Brian D’Escarttasat

    It’s good to see archaeological treasures and heritage are still valued somewhere in these isles anyway.

    Not like in the republic, unfortunately, where we prefer to drive a 4-lane motorway through our most precious heritage sites, a la Tara Valley. Of course it’s very important that every sacrifice be made to appease the Green God of the Celtic Tiger…