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10.01.2021

West Yorkshire Hoard

The West Yorkshire Hoard is a precious metal Hoard of six gold objects, including four gold rings and a lead spindle, that was discovered near Leeds , West Yorkshire , in 2008-2009 by a metal prospector. The find was of national and international significance, broadening the understanding of hoards and accumulations in the north of England in early medieval England, as well as expanding the corpus of known gold rings of the period.

The treasure was discovered in a number of separate searches by Frank Andrusyk, in a search during 2008-09. After Andrusyk discovered the original group of four rings and a gold brooch fragment, he reported it to the Portable Antiquities Scheme, which then surveyed the field. Six months later, in 2009, another gold ring and a lead spindle wreath were discovered further down the slope.

The treasure trove includes four gold rings, a fragment of gold cloisonné jewelry, a piece of gold bullion, and a lead spindle wreath. The 2008 finds were found in three batches over two days and represented a ring with a garnet, a ring with an enlarged frame, a ring with inlaid niello , a partial gold bar and a fragment of cloisonné. The 2009 finds were a gold ring with a round bezel, filigree and granulated ornament, and a lead disc, most likely spindle-shaped.

Ring 1: rhombus-shaped ring with a garnet cabochon 

This ring is formed by a large petal on which two smaller petals step, the uppermost petal being decorated with an oval garnet with natural flaws in a dogtooth setting, which in turn is framed by a twisted gold wire. Gold pellets adorn the corners of the petals, and further gold filigree and pellets adorn the gaps. The hoop is in a rare style and is made of a twisted rod with twisted ends that is attached to the back of the bezel. The decoration is very crisp and the ring does not appear to have much wear. The ring using serrated filigree was made in the 10th or early 11th century.

Ring 2: Ring with enlarged faceplate

This ring is the smallest of all the rings from the hoard and is made from a flattened gold rim enlarged bezel. The ring shows signs of wear and is not at the same level of craftsmanship as rings 1 or 3. It is decorated with vertically toothed filigree ornamentation dating from the mid-ninth to tenth centuries.

Ring 3: Ring with circular frame 

This large gold ring with a circular bezel mounted on top of a hollow box-shaped design is covered in intricate ornamentation of gold graining and filigree. It has been suggested that the filigree decoration may represent a vine, a popular motif in religious imagery. The hollow structure seems to contain an object inside a sealed chamber when moved; X-ray examination shows that the object may be organic, and one interpretation is that this ring was used to store a relic. There are a small number of such rings, which means that their production may date back to the ninth, tenth, or eleventh centuries.

Ring 4: Ring with inlays of niello

This shabby gold ring is decorated with four panels of Truhiddle-style ornamentation in the form of two creatures and two plant motifs. This style of jewelry dates back to the ninth to tenth century, which means that this ring was produced earlier than the other three rings.

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