New Historian

Hospital Scanner Reveals Viking Riches

Vikings in a ship

<![CDATA[A CT scanner has revealed broaches hidden in a Viking pot. The 1200 year old pot was first unearthed at an undisclosed location in Dumfries and Galloway in September. The finds were described as one of the most significant Viking hoards ever discovered in the UK. The pot was part of a large hoard containing more than a hundred artefacts, many of which are historically unique and of international importance. Amongst the items in the hoard was an early Christian silver cross from the ninth or tenth century with unusual markings. Dozens of pieces of silver and gold jewellery were also found. It was the small pot which particularly fascinated experts, as they believed it contained more objects. Archaeologists knew from the pot's ornate exterior that it had been made in the west European part of the Carolingian Empire, between 780 and 900 AD. Hiding items in an elaborate pot, before burying them, implies the contents must have been valuable to the owner. Experts, however, were unable to open the pot as they feared causing damage to it and its contents. As a result, whatever was put into the pot had remained a mystery, until now. By using a CT scanner at Borders General Hospital, archaeologists have been able to glimpse the pot's hidden treasure. Scans revealed the pot contains around 20 objects, including five silver brooches, gold ingots and ivory beads; all the items are wrapped in organic matter, possibly a leather bag. "I was like a kid looking in the sweet shop window unable to touch anything on the other side of the glass," Derek McLennan, the metal detectorist who discovered the find, told the Daily Mail. "Nothing else had been on my mind for two-and-half-months than seeing what was inside the pot, and then seeing it, there was a rush of emotion and was incredibly exciting." Vikings often placed precious objects in the ground for safekeeping in times of trouble. The original owner of the hoard must have died before they could recover it, leaving it to be buried in the ground, until it was found by archaeologists. Although opening the pot would allow experts to properly examine the items hidden within, there are fears that doing so would also cause damage. Experts are now trying to ascertain how to open the pot without harming it or the items inside. "As with human patients, we need to investigate in a non-invasive way before moving onto delicate surgery," Richard Welander, head of collections at Historic Scotland said. "In this case, that will be the careful removal of the contents and the all-important conservation of these items." Even if the pot cannot be opened, it still represents an amazing find. It shows the large amount of wealth that could be accrued by a pillaging Viking. It also provides important clues about the everyday life of ninth-century Vikings, who in times of trouble hid valuable items in the ground.]]>

Exit mobile version