A retired police officer has discovered a 1,000-year-old Viking treasure hoard on the Isle of Man.
The discovery was made by Kath Giles, whilst metal detecting on private land in December 2020. Only now have details of the find been published and declared “treasure” by the Isle of Man Coroner of Inquests.
Kath Giles said: “I knew I had found something very special when I moved the soil away from one of the terminals of the brooch, but then I found parts of the pin, the hoop and underneath, the gorgeous gold arm-ring. I knew straight away that it was a significant and exciting find. I’m so thrilled to have found artefacts that are not only so important, but so beautiful!”
The hoard consists of a gold arm-ring, a massive silver brooch, at least one silver armband, and other associated finds that date from around AD 950. During this period, the Isle of Man was under the rule of the Scandinavian Kings of Dublin, first serving as a base for trade, before being permanently settled.
The ring is made from plaited rods of gold and has been described by Allison Fox, Curator for Archaeology at the Manx National Heritage as “a rare find”. Due to the scarcity of gold during the Viking period, it would be the equivalent in contemporary value to 900 silver coins.
The silver brooch has intricate designs on the pin and terminals, and is known as a “thistle brooch of ball type”. Brooches of this type group would have been worn at the shoulder to hold heavy clothing such as a cloak in place, with the discovery being the largest known example.
Allison Fox explained that: “The arm-ring, brooch and cut armband are all high-status personal ornaments and represent a large amount of accumulated wealth. Finding just one of these items would be of significance. The fact that all were found together, associated with one single deposition event, suggests that whoever buried them was extremely wealthy and probably felt immediately and acutely threatened”.
Header Image Credit : Manx National Heritage