Yorkshire Museum in £50,000 appeal for Bedale Viking archaeological hoard

By Culture24 Reporter | 08 January 2014

A vast Viking hoard will stay in Britain if a £50,000 Yorkshire Museum campaign succeeds

A photo of a large hoard of Viking pieces of silver and gold against a white sheet
The Bedale Hoard was found in May 2012© Yorkshire Museum
The life savings of a Viking, according to the hoard found by metal detectorist Stuart Campbell and his field-traipsing partner last year, included a gold sword pommel, a neck ring and collar, gold rivets, half a silver brooch and no less than 29 silver ingots.

Believed to date from more than 1,100 years ago, the Bedale Hoard’s value in understanding 9th century Yorkshire may be priceless. But between now and March, the Yorkshire Museum, where the treasures have gone on display, needs to raise £51,636 to keep it.

“There are two factors that make it especially interesting to us,” explains curator of archaeology Natalie McCaul, who says the “spectacular” set of gold and silver items would have been owned by a well-off Viking.

“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.

“This discovery proves that there was wealth here. It was buried for safekeeping but for some reason never returned to. We hope if we can buy the hoard we will be able to conduct research to help us get a better understanding of the people who lived in Yorkshire at that time.”

Animal depictions decorate plaques of gold foil on the large gold sword pommel, believed to derive from an Anglo-Saxon weapon and accompanied by four oval ring mounts from the grip of a sword, adorned with similar decorations.

Six tiny, dome-headed gold rivets could also have come from a sword hilt, while the neck collar consists of four ropes of twisted silver strands, terminated by hooks which were linked when the collar war worn.

Of three extra twisted neck rings, one has been halved into “hack silver”, with the split revealing an unusual west Viking variant. A Permian ring of Russian design and a flat arm-ring, made by Vikings in Ireland using a Hiberno-Scandinavian design, also feature in a hoard which has gone on public show until the appeal concludes at the end of March.


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