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Vale of York hoard

British Museum

British Museum

It contains a mixture of different precious metal objects including coins, complete ornaments, ingots (bars) and chopped-up fragments known as hack-silver. It shows the diversity of cultural contacts in the medieval world at the time, with objects coming from as far apart as Afghanistan in the east and Ireland in the west, as well as Russia, Scandinavia and continental Europe. The most spectacular single object is a gilt-silver vessel, made in northern France or Germany in around the middle of the ninth century. It was apparently intended for use in church services, and was possibly either looted from a monastery by Vikings, or given to them in tribute. Most of the smaller objects were hidden inside this vessel, which was itself protected by some form of lead container. As a result, the hoard was extremely well-preserved. Among the other objects are a fine gold arm-ring, and over 600 coins, including several that were previously unknown or rare types. These provide valuable new information about the history of England in the early tenth century, as well as Yorkshire’s wider cultural contacts in the period. Interestingly, the hoard contains coins relating to Islam and to the pre-Christian religion of the Vikings, as well as to Christianity. The hoard was probably buried for safety by a wealthy Viking leader during the unrest that followed the conquest of the Viking kingdom of Northumbria in AD 927 by the Anglo-Saxon king Athelstan (924-39). This was a key moment in English history, with the whole of England brought under one king for the first time. However, the hoard provides interesting evidence that the process was not as smooth as the official record produced at Athelstan's court suggests. The hoard was acquired jointly by the British Museum and York Museums Trust in 2009. The Vikings Raiding is the most famous aspect of the Viking age, but settlements and cemeteries show they were farmers, fishers, hunters and skilled craftsmen. Vikings world culture

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Details

  • Title: Vale of York hoard
  • Physical Dimensions: Weight: 1.15g; Diameter: 1.00mm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Registration number: 2009,4133.671
  • Production place: Minted in Rocester
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot North Yorkshire
  • Period/culture: Anglo-Viking
  • Material: silver
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Acquired through the Treasure Act Department for Culture, Media and Sport. With contribution from Art Fund. With contribution from National Heritage Memorial Fund. With contribution from British Museum Friends. With contribution from York Museums Trust. With contribution from Wolfson Foundation
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