LONDON (AFP) – A British metal-detecting enthusiast has unearthed the most significant Viking treasure hoard ever found in Scotland, shedding light on the warriors’ links with the rest of Europe.
Officials said on Monday that the trove includes more than 100 objects dating from the ninth and 10th centuries and will help in understanding the history of medieval Scotland and updating the image of Vikings as bloodthirsty axemen.
Derek McLennan, 47, found the treasure last month buried some 60 centimetres (23 inches) below the ground in Dumfriesshire, southwest Scotland.
The precise location is being kept a secret while authorities work to preserve the site and ensure no more buried treasure remains.
The haul was found in a field belonging to the Church of Scotland.
“It’s certainly the most significant Viking hoard from Scotland,” Stuart Campbell, head of the Treasure Trove Unit who is overseeing the handling of the find, told AFP.
“It is the biggest hoard of Viking material found in Scotland since the 19th century. It’s hugely significant, not just for Britain but for western Europe because it’s a very unusual hoard.
“It contains objects from all over Europe. There are amulets from Ireland, jewellery from Scandinavia, gold jewellery that is probably Anglo-Saxon, and there is the Carolingian silver vessel from what is now Germany,” he said.