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Discovered treasure was Viking’s life savings

Curator Natalie McCaul with a silver Viking neck ring.

Curator Natalie McCaul with a silver Viking neck ring.

Buried beneath the ground a significant treasure trove, a wealthy Viking’s life savings, lay undiscovered for centuries.

Thought to date back to the late 9th or early 10th century, the hoard was found by a metal detectorist in pasture land in Bedale.

Almost 40 items were uncovered including a silver neck ring and neck collar, the likes of which have never been recorded.

Staff at the Yorkshire Museum, in York, helped unearth the treasures and have now launched an appeal to raise more than £50,000 to keep the nationally significant findings in Yorkshire.

“It had been properly buried, ” Natalie McCaul, curator of archaeology said.

“There was evidence of lead lining so presumably it was put in a lead container and we know from other hoards that was done.”

The hoard was discovered in May 2012 in an area where very little is known about life in the Viking period and experts say the fact it exists sheds new light on the region 1,000 years ago.

To raise awareness of the appeal the hoard has gone on display at the museum until the end of March.

Miss McCaul said: “This is a spectacular find featuring gold and silver items which would have been a wealthy Viking’s life savings.

“It was buried for safekeeping but for some reason never returned to. There are two factors that make it especially interesting to us. The first is that a number of the silver neck rings and the collar are unique – we have not seen any other examples in the Viking world that exactly match these finds.

“The second is they were discovered in a part of Yorkshire which very little is known about in the Viking period.”

The full hoard consists of a gold sword pommel,the unique silver neck ring and neck collar, a silver armlet, 29 silver ingots, two other silver neck rings, gold rivets and half a silver brooch.

“I think there’s a really interesting question mark about what’s going on in Bedale at this time,” Miss McCaul added.

FACT FILE:

The Bedale Hoard has been valued at £51,636 and the Yorkshire Museum hopes to raise the money before March to keep it in the region.

Staff hope people will get behind the bid to keep the significant hoard in Yorkshire. Natalie McCaul, curator of archaeology, said: “It’s imperative that we save it and that it’s kept together as a complete set of objects.” People can donate via the museum’s website: www.yorkshiremuseum.org.uk, or in person at the Yorkshire Museum, or by phoning 01904 687671. Last year the museum launched a successful £30,000 public appeal to keep a 1,000-year-old gold bracelet – or torc – in Yorkshire.

 

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