Did a Viking Horde Hide a Viking Hoard?

August 30, 2009 at 9:37 am | Posted in Finds | 4 Comments

viking_hoardIt’s one of those couldn’t-happen-in-America stories. A treasure worth millions of dollars has been unearthed in England … again.

As we read in the Daily Mail:

“An impressive Viking hoard of jewellery has made a father and son metal-detector team £1m richer, after being bought by two British museums. The find, which is the ‘largest and most important’ since 1840, was found in a field in Harrogate, North Yorkshire in January 2007. It had been buried there for more than 1,000 years. Valued at £1,082,000, the hoard was purchased by the British Museum and the York Museum Trust after two years of fundraising.

“The highlight of the collection is an intricately carved silver cup, estimated to be worth more than £200,000. It contains 617 coins and various silver fragments, ingots and rings. Some of the pieces were from as far away as Afghanistan.
The treasure is believed to have belonged to a rich Viking who buried it during the unrest following the conquest of the Viking kingdom of Northumbria in 927 by the Anglo-Saxon king Athelstan. It is believed he was unable to go back to the hoard, possibly as a result of turbulence during the period.

“Conservation work on the find began about a month ago and experts hope the process will reveal crucial details about the Viking era.Initial examinations suggest the treasure dates back to AD927 or 928. Experts have spent over a month cleaning the hoard, often with a porcupine spine, to protect the delicate collection. The process, performed under microscope, has already revealed intricate designs which were invisible when the hoard was first discovered….

“Finders David Whelan, 53, and Andrew, 37, from Leeds, said: ‘Being keen metal detectorists, we always dreamed of finding a hoard but to find one from such a fantastic period of history is just unbelievable.
‘The contents of the hoard we found went far beyond our wildest dreams and hopefully people will love seeing the objects on display in York and London for many years to come.’ The pair will share the £1,082,000 with the owners of the field, who wished to remain anonymous.”

Wait — so, doing the math, can we assume that David became Andrew’s father at age sixteen? And they’re still pals, doing things together? That’s rare, and commendable. And now they’ve scavenged over a million dollars’ worth of historic goodies.

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