Archive for August 29th, 2009

Hugest Viking hoard in 150 years goes on display

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

The Vale of York Hoard was found in a a field in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, in January 2007 by a father-son team of British metal detector hobbyists, and after 2 years of fundraising, was purchased by both the Yorkshire Museum and the British Museum, who will alternate putting it on display.

The hoard is a thousand years old, and contains precious artifacts from Afghanistan, Ireland, Russia and Scandinavia, courtesy of the Vikings’ vast reach and plundering skills. The artifacts include 617 silver coins, silver ingots, jewelry, and an intricately carved gilt silver cup which alone is worth £200,000 (ca $325,000).

Gilt silver cup from the Vale of York hoardMuch of the hoard, which contains 67 objects [not counting over 600 coins], was preserved inside the gilt silver vessel, made around the middle of the 9th century, close to where the present-day Franco-German border runs. It was probably intended for use in church services and was believed to have been looted by Vikings from a monastery.

The artefacts were extraordinarily well-preserved because they had kept in a lead container. The hoard also contains coins relating to Islam and the pre-Christian religion of the Vikings.

The whole hoard went for a jaw-dropping £1,082,000 (ca $1,760,000) which will be divided between the two finders and the landowner who allowed them to metal detect on his property in the first place.

Preservationists have only just begun the process of cleaning and restoring the hoard. They’ve been using a porcupine quill under a microscope, believe or not, to clean out the intricate designs.

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