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20.01.2021

Galloway Hoard

The Galloway Hoard is a hoard of more than 100 gold and silver items from the Viking Age discovered in the historic county of Kirkcudbrightshire at Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland in September 2014. Found by the Church of Scotland Church of the Land, the hoard has been described by experts as "one of the most significant Viking hoards ever found in Scotland." It was discovered by a metal detector enthusiast who reported the find to the authorities. A county archaeologist conducted an excavation that uncovered a rich and extraordinarily diverse collection of jewelry from the Viking world.Anglo-Saxon England and elsewhere in Europe. The treasure is believed to have been buried sometime in the mid-ninth or tenth century, although it is not known why it was buried. In 2017, it was valued at £2 million by the Advisory Commission at the Queen and Lord Treasurer's Monument (QLTR). Scottish law allows whoever found the treasure to keep the full value of the treasure without the owner. The National Museum of Scotland has raised the funds to give the Treasure a permanent home in Scotland. 

The treasure was found in an unknown location on Glebeland lands belonging to the Church of Scotland. It was found by Derek McLennan, a metal detector from Ayrshire. He was accompanied by two churchmen, Rev. Dr. David Bartholomew and Pastor Mike Smith, who were also metal detector enthusiasts. The three had permission to search the site, which McLennan researched for more than a year, and he found a silver object, which turned out to be a bracelet, after an hour of searching. According to McLennan, "At first I didn't know what I found because I thought it was a silver spoon, but then I turned it over, wiped my thumb over it, saw the solid design and knew right away it was a Viking. . " He ran up to Bartholomew shouting "Viking!" It wasn't his first discovery; In 2013, McLennan discovered Scotland's largest hoard of medieval silver coins near Twinholm. 

The find was reported to the Scottish Treasury Department, and county archaeologist Andrew Nicholson excavated with McLennan's help. They dug further and found a collection of artifacts at a depth of 60 cm (24 inches). When the artifacts were removed, McLennan conducted a further search with his metal detector and found the second level of the hoard buried under the first. Among the finds was an early Christian silver cross. Bartholomew said: "It was incredibly exciting, especially when we noticed the silver cross lying face down. It was sticking out from under a pile of silver ingots and decorated armbands, to which a thinly wound silver chain was still attached. was a thrilling moment when a local archaeologist turned it over and discovered the rich decoration on the other side."

On September 15, 2019, BBC Scotland News reported that the Church of Scotland filed a lawsuit in the Court of Session in Edinburgh against metal detectorist Derek McLennan, who discovered the treasure in 2014. A Church of Scotland spokesman said, "We can confirm that the General Trustees of the Church of Scotland have brought suit against Derek McLennan. Kirk said he was entitled to a fair share of the find.

The treasure consists of many gold and silver objects, including armbands, a Christian cross, brooches, ingots and possibly the largest silver Carolingian pot ever found. The objects among the treasures come from a vast geographic area that includes Ireland, Scandinavia and Central Europe. They were produced over a long period of time - perhaps a couple of centuries - and the treasure was deposited in the middle of the ninth or tenth century. The hoard bears some resemblance to other Viking finds, but its mix of gold, silver, glass, enamel and textiles has been described by experts as unique.

The pot was one of the oldest items in the hoard, and may have been over 100 years old by the time it was turned in. It was made of silver alloy and was found wrapped in remnants of cloth, with the lid in place. It contains more objects and was examined with X-rays in November 2014 before it was opened and emptied. Inside was found a collection of silver Anglo-Saxon disc brooches, an Irish silver brooch, Byzantine silk from around Constantinople (now Istanbul ), gold bullion and gold and crystal objects wrapped in cloth. The vessel may have been a family heirloom belonging to the family who buried the treasure. The silver cross may have come from Dublin and is engraved with unusual decorations on each of the four arms, which McLennan suggested may represent each of the four Gospels.

Five silver armbands have runic inscriptions on them. Although considered a Viking hoard, the inscriptions are written in Anglo-Saxon runes and contain Anglo-Saxon names. David Parsons of the University of Wales identified one of the names as the common Anglo-Saxon personal name Ecgbeorht ( Egbert in modern English), written as EGGBRECT ᛖᚷᚷᛒᚱᛖᚳᛏ . He suggests that each of the five names scratched on the armbands may identify the owner of part of the treasure, and that these people may have been responsible for burying the treasure. Since Galloway was part of Anglo-Saxon Northumbria, they may have been Anglo-Saxons who lived there.

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