Friday 16 June, 2017

The Galloway Hoard

Friday 16 June - Sunday 1 October 2017

National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh

Following allocation of the Galloway Hoard to National Museums Scotland by the Queen’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer (QLTR), part of the Hoard will go on display for a short period as part of a fundraising campaign to raise the necessary £1.98 million to save it for the nation.

National Museums will put a selection of items from this unparalleled find on temporary display at the National Museum of Scotland from 16 June to 1 October 2017. The items are on loan from the QLTR and will give visitors a first glimpse of this unique hoard of Viking-age gold, silver and jewelled treasures.

The treasures on display have not yet been fully cleaned or conserved. The fragile nature of many of the items in the Hoard as a whole, means a rigorous process of review and delicate conservation work will be necessary before the long term display of individual items can be planned.

 Dr Gordon Rintoul, Director of National Museums Scotland said,

“We have only six months in which to raise the necessary funds to acquire this spectacular treasure hoard and save it for the people of Scotland.
 “The Queen’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer (QLTR) has kindly granted us permission to put a selection of the Hoard on short-term display to support our fundraising campaign. I would encourage everyone to come along to the National Museum of Scotland to enjoy a first glimpse of this outstanding Viking-age silver. There is not much time and we are seeking the public’s support in saving this extraordinary treasure.”

The Hoard brings together the richest collection of rare and unique Viking-age objects ever found in Britain or Ireland. It 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. It was buried at the beginning of the tenth century, although some of the items within the Hoard date from an earlier period. 

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.

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

Notes to editors

  1. 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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