1000-year old Viking treasure hoard found in Scotland

Mon Oct 13, 2014 7:14am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - A hoard of Viking gold and silver artifacts dating back over 1,000 years has been discovered by a treasure hunter with a metal detector in Scotland, in a find hailed by experts as one of the country's most significant.

Derek McLennan, a retired businessman, uncovered the 100 items in a field in Dumfriesshire, southwest Scotland, in September.

Amongst the objects is a solid silver cross thought to date from the 9th or 10th century, a silver pot of west European origin, which is likely to have already been 100 years old when it was buried and several gold objects.

"Experts have begun to examine the finds, but it is already clear that this is one of the most significant Viking hoards ever discovered in Scotland," Scotland's Treasure Trove unit said in a statement.

The Viking hoard is McLennan's second significant contribution to Scotland's understanding of its past. Last year, he and a friend unearthed around 300 medieval coins in the same area of Scotland.

"The Vikings were well known for having raided these shores in the past, but today we can appreciate what they have left behind," said Scotland's secretary for cultural and external affairs, Fiona Hyslop.

The Vikings, of Scandinavian origin, made successive raids on Britain from the 8th to the 11th centuries, burying their valuables for safe-keeping, which have gradually been discovered by generations of treasure seekers.

A 10th-century Viking hoard was found in 2007 in northern England, while in 1840 over 8,600 items were found in northwest England.

The latest find, also containing a rare silver cup engraved with animals which dates from the Holy Roman Empire, and a gold bird pin, is the largest to be found in Scotland since 1891 and could be worth a six-figure sum, the BBC said.

(Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Stephen Addison)