A “stunning” collection of 1,000-year-old gold and silver Viking jewellery has been discovered on the Isle of Man by a metal detectorist. Retired police officer Kath Giles made the find on farm land in the north of the island.
The hoard includes a gold arm ring and a “massive” silver brooch dating back to 950 AD. It was unearthed in December but has been revealed for the first time during a coroner’s hearing. Manx National Heritage’s curator of archaeology Allison Fox said the arm ring in particular was a “rare find”. Ms Giles said she immediately knew she had found “something very special” and was “thrilled” at the discovery, which is likely to be worth several thousand pounds.
“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,” she said. The findings were declared treasure in an inquest at Douglas Courthouse. Discoveries of archaeological interest on the island must be reported to Manx National Heritage within two weeks. If items are legally classified as treasure, they belong to the crown and the finder is rewarded.
Precisely how much this latest finding is worth has not been determined, but similar items of Viking jewellery have been valued at $1,700 each. A larger hoard of Viking treasure found in Lancashire in 2011 was valued at $120,000.
Ms Fox said the gold arm band was rare because silver was a far more common commodity for trading during the Viking era. “The arm ring, brooch and cut armband are all high-status personal ornaments and represent a large amount of accumulated wealth,” she said. “Finding just one of these items would be of significance. The fact that all were found together suggests that whoever buried them was extremely wealthy and probably felt immediately and acutely threatened.”