Friday 12 May, 2017

The Galloway Hoard, an unparalleled find of Viking-age gold, silver and jewelled treasures, has been allocated to National Museums Scotland by the Queen’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer (QLTR). National Museums Scotland now has six months to secure funding of £1.98 million in order to acquire the Hoard for the nation.

The Hoard, which brings together the richest collection of rare and unique Viking-age objects ever found in Britain or Ireland, is of international significance and will transform our understanding of this period of Scottish history. Uncovered by a metal detectorist in Dumfries and Galloway, the Galloway Hoard comprises in excess of 100 gold, silver and other items from the Viking Age. The Hoard was buried at the beginning of the tenth century, although some of the items within the Hoard date from an earlier period.

Dr Gordon Rintoul, Director of National Museums Scotland commented,

“The Galloway Hoard is of outstanding international significance and we are absolutely delighted that the Queen’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer (QLTR) has decided to allocate it to National Museums Scotland. We now have six months to raise £1.98 million to acquire this unique treasure for the nation and ensure it can be enjoyed by future generations both at home and abroad.”

The bulk of the find is a rich Viking-age hoard of silver jewellery and ingots. However, it also contains an outstanding range of exceptional precious metal and jewelled items including a rare gold ingot, a gold bird-shaped pin and a decorated silver-gilt cup of Continental or Byzantine origin. The cup is carefully wrapped in textiles and is the only complete lidded vessel of its type ever discovered in Britain or Ireland. This vessel contains further unusual objects: beads; amulets of glass and rock crystal; pilgrimage relics; a silver penannular brooch; another rare gold ingot; five Anglo-Saxon disc brooches of a kind not found in Scotland before; and jewelled aestels, pointers used to read and mark places within medieval manuscripts.

Other finds from around Britain or Ireland have been exceptional for a single type of object—for example, silver brooches or armlets. However, the Galloway Hoard is unique in bringing together a remarkable variety of objects in one discovery, hinting at hitherto unknown connections between people across Europe and beyond. It also contains objects which have never before been discovered in a hoard of this age. Incredibly, fragile textiles, leather and wooden fragments have also survived, providing an extremely rare opportunity to research and reveal many lost aspects of the Viking Age.

Due to its nature and importance, the Hoard will require considerable specialist input from the team at National Museums Scotland to properly conserve, interpret and prepare for the display of the material. National Museums aims to ensure that it can be enjoyed and understood by visitors from Scotland, the rest of the UK and internationally.

The Hoard has been valued at £1.98 million and National Museums will now embark upon a major fundraising campaign to fund the costs of its acquisition and long-term care and display. All of the necessary funds need to be secured in order that the QLTR can transfer ownership of the Hoard to National Museums Scotland.

National Museums believes that it is important there is a display of the Hoard in Dumfries and Galloway, and intends to continue to seek a dialogue with Dumfries and Galloway Council to ensure that a representative portion of the Hoard goes on long-term display in Kirkcudbright Art Gallery.

In the meantime National Museums will be seeking the agreement of the QLTR to put key elements of the Hoard on display at the National Museum of Scotland for a limited period of time, prior to conservation work starting. This will offer the public the opportunity to have the first glimpse of this exciting treasure.

Further information and images from Susan Gray, National Museums Scotland Press Office on 0131 247 4088 or s.gray@nms.ac.uk.

Notes to Editors

National Museums Scotland is one of the leading museum groups in the UK and Europe and it looks after collections of national and international importance. The organisation provides loans, partnerships, research and training in Scotland and internationally. Our individual museums are the National Museum of Scotland, the National Museum of Flight, the National Museum of Rural Life and the National War Museum. The National Museums Collection Centre in Edinburgh houses conservation and research facilities as well as collections not currently on display.

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