In September 2011 a metal-detectorist discovered a hoard of Viking jewellery and coins buried in a lead pouch under a field in Silverdale, Lancashire.
Silverdale Viking Hoard by Unknown Artist, mid 9thmid 10th century
© Museum of Lancashire
- Silver in lead container
- Art Fund grant:
- £33,000 ( Total: £109,815)
- Acquired in:
- Department for Culture, Media and Sport
A few months later it was officially declared as treasure under the Treasure Act 1996, and valued at almost £110,000. Now known as the Silverdale Hoard, the collection is made up of more than 200 items believed to date from around ad 900, making it one of the largest and most important hoards of Viking treasure ever to have been discovered in the United Kingdom. The hoard includes jewellery, coins from Viking kingdoms across Britain, Europe and Arabia, and 141 fragments known as hacksilver arm-rings and ingots that had been chopped into smaller pieces, which the Vikings used as money. One of the most beautiful and fascinating items in the hoard is a magnificent nested silver bracelet, comprising three interlocking arm-rings. Unusually, the bracelet combines Irish, Anglo-Saxon and Carolingian decorative elements. The outer arm-ring is the most elaborate, decorated with a sophisticated double zig-zag pattern and tapering towards the ends, which are shaped like the heads of fabulous beasts. Notable among the coins is a unique Arabic silver penny bearing the name airdeconut, which is thought to be an English rendition of the Scandinavian name Harthacnut. The reverse of the coin features the letters dns (Dominus) and rex (King) arranged in the form of a cross, suggesting a previously unknown Viking king of Northumbria, most likely with a Christian affiliation. This hoard was acquired with assistance from the Wolfson Foundation.
The hoard was found by Darren Webster, a metal detectorist, in a filed near Silverdale in Septempber 2011 and declared Treasure. He was working with permission, on land owned by Mr Willliam Burrow.