Skip to comments.Viking gold discovered by amateur with metal detector in Co Down
Posted on 06/27/2013 8:28:41 PM PDT by DeaconBenjamin
Viking gold ingot which was found at Brickland, Co. Down and dates to the later ninth/tenth century. Sean Barden/Armagh County Museum
A rare piece of Viking gold dating back more than a thousand years was discovered by an amateur with a metal detector in Northern Ireland, it was revealed.
Tom Crawford was pursuing his hobby in farmland in Co Down last year when he found the small but precious ingot, which may have been used as currency during the 9th and 10th centuries. It is one of only a few nuggets known from Ireland, experts said.
Mr Crawford also uncovered a tiny silver ring brooch with unusual floral imprints, probably used for decoration by a man or woman during the Medieval period, a short distance away.
"It is all part of the big jigsaw of the history of this country," he told a Belfast inquest convened to establish if the find was treasure.
He added later: "Every little bit that is found is part of the jigsaw and when I think that I have uncovered a few fields in this country, there are hundreds of thousands of fields throughout Northern Ireland that no metal detector has ever been in so what is lying out there could be all sorts of things.
"You would need hundreds of metal detectors to go over the fields but a lot of stuff could still be lying there."
The sliver of metal, 86% gold but less than three centimetres long, was found at Brickland in Co Down, a short distance from Loughbrickland which appeared to be the centre of an early Medieval kingdom, National Museums Northern Ireland said. Written records say the Vikings plundered Loughbrickland in 833 AD.
An expert told the inquest the gold may be a direct result of contact between locals and the Scandinavians and noted the nearby regions of Strangford and Carlingford loughs were areas of intense and enduring Viking activity.
Mr Crawford said he had found some six pence coins before during 15 years of pursuing his hobby but most of the time he recovered bottle tops and bits of junk. When he uncovered the ingot he initially thought it was a piece of metal from soldering.
"I found a scrap piece of metal, I later found out it was a gold piece," he explained.
He added: "When you do find something it gives you a bit of enthusiasm to go on and look for more."
He told coroner Suzanne Anderson how he had hunted for metal as a part-time hobby after retiring.
"It is exciting when you find something that you think could be old, there is always a lot of history behind the things, especially if you find a coin and see the figure and you can identify what year it is," he said.
Dr Greer Ramsey, curator at Armagh County Museum, said the gold and silver objects were reported to the institution shortly after their discovery in February last year.
He said ingots during the Viking period were used as currency measured by weight and often cut into smaller amounts.
"Gold is extremely rare in the Viking period, there are vast quantities of silver....there are very, very few parallels to the ingot," he added.
Similar finds had been made in Norwich and Lincolnshire in England and in the Hebrides in Scotland as well as from a crannog (island) in Co Meath in the Republic.
"It would be my opinion that it does constitute treasure," he said.
The delicate brooch is 14 millimetres in diameter, was found at Legananny, Co Down, and dates from the Late Medieval period (13th-14th century). There are around 140 examples found in Ireland linked to the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland in the 12th century. Similar finds have been made in Carrickfergus, Co Antrim, and Norfolk in England. The metal at Legananny was 95% silver, Dr Ramsey added.
The coroner ruled that the brooch and ingot constituted treasure.
"Yup. It's treasure."
What a dumb ass. When you stumble on something like this you STFU and dig all night. LOL! At least that’s what somebody told me.
From Bantry Bay up to Derry Quay
And from Galway to Dublin town
No maid I’ve seen like the sweet colleen
That I met in the County Down.
I am sort of not getting how it can be viking gold, and yet - from Ireland. Do they mean the Vikings owned it, but it was produced in Ireland?
However, it is a great find - beautiful and pure, incorruptible gold, untouched by time.
Gold had a strong presence in Irish culture and mythology, and to be a goldsmith was a very honoured profession.
I also think they may also have have antiquity laws which require surrender of things found like this. Anyone here an expert on these matters?
|GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach|
Thanks moose07. Looks like a slice of potato.
Ping to the Ancient Swedish Ping List.
My first thought as well.
I heard a story about a guy in the foothills of the Sierras who was using a backhoe to dig out a foundation for his new house.
Found 3 ozs of gold nuggets!
Dug up the whole 5 acres more and didn’t find a single gram more!
Sometimes, the gods smile on you.
Most of the time, it’s just a tease...
Sierras? Hell, that’s where I am. Guess I know what I’m doing the rest of the afternoon now. LOL! Of course it’s a little warm so I may wait until after the sun goes down some.
Dangit! Is nothing safe anymore?
You bury something once, and you expect it to *stay* buried.....I mean, I know nothing about this.
I thought the headline was referring to a “Colorado Town”, with a little typo in the title.....
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