Derek McLennan, a retired businessman with a metal detector, discovered an actual Viking treasure in a field in Dumfriesshire, located in southwest Scotland.
The Vikings, who were Norse seafarers who spoke the Old Norse language, “raided and traded” in places ranging from their homelands in Scandinavia to wide areas crossing northern and central Europe, and even European Russia, in a time spanning from the late 8th to the late 11th century. The Vikings made a number of raids on Britain, often burying their valuables for safe-keeping, and it is these valuables that have been discovered, over time, by generations of treasure seekers like McLennan. In 2007, a 10th-century Viking treasure was found in northern England, and going further back, over 8,600 items were unearthed in northwest England in 1840.
In fact, this latest hoard of Viking treasure isn’t even McClennan’s first significant fine. Just last year, he and a friend found a hidden treasure trove of around 300 medieval coins in the same area of Scotland.
No wonder he returned to look again — and this time, the Viking treasure he unearthed is being hailed as one of Scotland’s most significant treasure findings. At the very least, the treasure hoard McLennan unearthed is the largest to be found in Scotland since 1891, and the BBC estimates that its worth could be in the six-figure range.
“Experts have begun to examine the finds, but it is already clear that this is one of the most significant Viking hoards ever discovered in Scotland,” Scotland’s Treasure Trove unit said in a statement.
Among the objects found in the buried Viking treasure is a solid silver cross that is believed to date from the 9th or 10th century, as well as a silver pot that is of western European origin, and is believed to have been at least 100 years old before it was even buried 1,000 years ago. Also among the finds is a rare cup also made of silver, engraved all around with animals, and is dated back to the Holy Roman Empire. Several gold objects were also found, including a gold bird pin.
The head of Scotland’s treasure trove unit believes that the silver pot, which is an intact Carolingian pot with the lid still in place, is one of the most exciting objects found. The pot is a treasure in itself – a rare vessel that was probably an heirloom prized by the family that buried the rest of the hoard. The pot has yet to be opened and emptied, which will be, as Stuart describes, “an excavation in microcosm.”
Stuart added, “What makes this find so significant is the range of material from different countries and cultures. This was material that was buried for safekeeping, almost like a safety deposit box that was never claimed.”
[Image via Daily Galaxy]