Skip to comments.History Unearthed (Viking Hoard)
Posted on 12/03/2004 3:53:30 PM PST by blam
Dec 3 2004
A HOARD of Viking jewellery has been found by a metal detector enthusiast in the Cheshire countryside.
The finder, Steve Reynoldson from Keighley in West Yorkshire, made the discovery near Huxley on Sunday during a metal detecting rally which attracted almost 100 enthusiasts.
Archaeologist Dan Garner, who works for Chester Archaeology, went to the site where he confirmed the booty of 20 silver arm bands was likely to date from the Viking period in the 10th century.
Mr Garner said: 'Of the treasure-detected finds in the area, it has to be one of the more significant ones, I would have thought.'
He believes the highly-decorated bands, which were bent-over, were probably being stored in preparation for re-use as currency.
Mr Garner believes the location, close to the River Gowy, is significant since Vikings used the rivers as a means of communication.
'The idea is the Vikings would have been coming up and down the river in their Long boats over a period and I imagine someone buried their booty but unfortunately they never came back to dig it up again.'
Mr Garner said the find was close to a discovery of Anglo-Saxon pennies by the Gowy marshes at Waverton in 1997 which an inquest determined had probably belonged to a Viking.
'It could be the two hoards are related in some way,' added Mr Garner.
Derrick Bell of Overton, near Wrexham, who attended Sunday's rally organised by the Lune Valley Metal Detecting Club, said the condition of items, which were put on display on the day, was 'absolutely superb'.
He said: 'It's the best find I have ever seen dug up. I was 20 yards away when he shouted that he had found something. He was very down-to-earth. He wasn't really jumping for joy. I think he was playing it cool.'
Mr Bell said the arm bands were made from flat pieces of silver and with engravings made up of dots, which looked as though they had been created by a tool similar to a centre punch.
'There was a cross on one and chevrons on another,' he said. 'I would say from what I have seen - I've been detecting since I was 17 - that it was probably a jeweller's hoard, put there for safekeeping.
'Three of them were undecorated and there was quite a bit of lead around the find. Possibly there was a lead plate on top or possibly it was part of a bag which would be completely gone.'
Mr Bell, who has previously found Medieval coins, a bronze age axe head and spear head as well as Roman articles, found a coin dating from 1270, during the reign of Edward I, at Sunday's rally.
But he loved being in the presence of such a significant discovery by his colleague.
'The fact I was standing there while it was being dug out was fantastic,' said Mr Bell.
A bronze brooch which he personally detected, which is possibly Saxon or Viking, is currently being examined by an expert at the British Museum.
'The little things I have found myself added to the finds of other people collectively tell a story about our history, so everything should be recorded.'
Inquest rules on Viking hoard
IT WAS seven years ago that metal detector enthusiast Denis Price from Christleton found a hoard of silver coins which were probably dropped by a Viking who lost his purse more than 1,000 years ago.
Mr Price, of Hawthorn Road, donated the rare Anglo-Saxon pennies to Chester's Grosvenor Museum after an inquest in 2000.
He found the eight whole coins and three fragments while out with his metal detector at a Waverton farm.
Coin expert Dr Sandy Campbell, a Tarporley GP, of Brereton Park, near Tarvin, told the inquest: 'One is tempted to the view that this hoard is the contents of a purse belonging to a Viking, who for some reason found himself wandering along the Gowy marshes, possibly in connection with the known Viking raid of 980AD, but this can be no more than speculation.'
Dr Campbell said the coins were all from the reign of King Edgar (957-975AD) who was king of Mercia and Northumbria and King of England.
No more than 120-130 of this type of coin were known. Cheshire coroner Nicholas Rheinberg said because of a change in law this was the last treasure trove case in Britain to be decided by an inquest jury, from now on the coroner alone would decide who would keep finds.
Link with famous treasure trove examined
THE hoard of Viking silverware found in the Cheshire countryside could have come from the massive Cuerdale Hoard discovered near Preston in 1840.
The Cuerdale Hoard is the greatest Viking silver treasure trove ever found outside Russia and although it dwarfs the
Huxley discovery in scale, there are some common features.
Archaeologist Dan Garner said items found in Cheshire were similar to those found in the Lancashire hoard which was also discovered in an isolated spot close to a waterway, the River Ribble.
The Cuerdale Hoard was located in a lead-lined box and in the Cheshire case the treasure was either wrapped in a lead sheet or could also have been in a lead-lined wooden box which had rotted away.
Mr Garner said: 'It's certainly possible the hoard from Huxley is a portion of the Cuerdale Hoard paid to a specific leader to do something.'
There were two explanations for the Cuer-dale Hoard. One is that the Vikings, who were expelled from Dublin by the Irish, were building up a war chest with a view to retaking the settlement, which ultimately they did.
The other is that the Vikings fled with the booty from Ireland and buried it with intention of digging it up later.
Mr Garner added:
'The items found in the Cuer-dale Hoard were not Scandinavian but objects made to suit a mixed taste for both Irish and Viking people.'
When the Vikings were thrown out of Dublin they settled in Britain from the Wirral up through Lancashire and into Cumbria
The legend of Ingimund, a supposed Viking leader, has it that he wanted to take Chester from the English because of its access to the Irish Sea via the Dee but they failed.
So the archaeologist said another theory could be that the silver bullion found near Chester was buried by Vikings who were in hostile territory and buried their treasure at a time of insecurity.
The Cuerdale Hoard found on May 15, 1840, by workmen far exceeds in scale and range any hoard found in the Scandinavian homelands or in the western areas of Viking settlement.
Find either lost or loot
AN inquest must be held in such cases to decide whether the hoard should remain with the finder or be handed over to the Crown.
The rule is that if it is believed the original owner accidentally lost their possessions the finder can keep the items but if the treasure had been deliberately hidden for safe-keeping it must be handed over to HM Queen as 'treasure trove'.
In this instance, it seems likely the find will be deemed 'treasure trove' but the finder will be compensated by The Crown and the money split with the landowner.
Because the find involves silver it had to be reported to Nick Herepath, Cheshire, Greater Manchester & Merseyside Finds Liaison Officer at Liverpool Museum who will inform the coroner.
Once in a lifetime haul
John Ferguson, who organised the Lune Valley Metal Detecting Club rally on Sunday, described the discovery as 'a once in a lifetime find' which was of considerable historical significance.
Any landowners willing to let his group detect on their land can raise money for their favourite charity through the admission fee and, in addition, the proceeds of any finds are split 50/50 between the finder and themselves.
Ring John for details on 07749 442110.
Please correct the title, 'Viling' should be 'Viking'. Thanks.
Viling hoards must be treasures that make you do bad things.
Those vile Viking villains.
I'm told the Dames were particularly vicious Vilings, especially on sale days.
The continued bashing of the Vilings combined with the blind
lionization of the Moops on this board is getting out of hand.
I blame Bush and that Jim Robinsoy guy.
One typo and an otherwise interesting post is totally stuned!
Weren't the Moops defeated by the Hngs?
Not to mention the Beebers contributions to North African history.
They got that by default. Asked how they'd divide Africa between them, famous Viling raider Sven Snorkkelson replied, "Leave it to Beebers."
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