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25.01.2021

Skaill Hoard

In March 1858, a boy named David Linklater chased a rabbit into its den near St. Peter's Church in Sandvik . Digging at the entrance to the den, he came across several silver coins in the ground.

Amazed by the find, the young Linklater soon joined several locals who were waiting to collect the clubs on the shore of Skyill Bay.

Together they unearthed and appropriated more than a hundred items, the largest Viking treasure trove found in Scotland to date.

The 15 pounds of silver that made up the treasure consisted of nine brooches, 14 necklaces, 27 bracelets, and many ingots and silver fragments.

There were also several Anglo-Saxon and Arab coins.

The fact that many objects were "notched" - presumably to test their quality - may indicate that they passed through several hands before ending up in the Orkney Islands. In fact, the number of notches on the objects roughly indicates how many times each item changed hands.

But the treasure didn't stay with the finders for long.

The law of Scotland says that any newly discovered object is the property of the Crown. So, after paying the bounty, the then Orkney Islands Sheriff's Clerk, George Petrie, took possession of the priceless treasure.

Eventually the collection was transferred to Edinburgh, where, like most of the important archaeological finds from the Orkney Islands, it remains to this day.

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