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Silver, Status and Society

National Museums Scotland established an international network of scholars to explore the role of silver in the emergence of the early medieval kingdoms of Europe.

Last updated: 16 March 2022

About the project

The Department of Scottish History and Archaeology at National Museums Scotland was home to two major programmes of research on Scottish silver in the first millennium AD: the Glenmorangie Research Project, and the Traprain Law Project. Thanks to the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) award, and in collaboration with our co-investigator Dr Andreas Rau (Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology, Stiftung Schleswig-Holsteinische Landesmuseen, Germany), National Museums Scotland was able to situate this research in its European context, making new connections with colleagues and new comparisons with collections beyond Scotland.

Project details

Project title

Silver, Status and Society – the transition from Late Roman to Early Medieval Europe

Project active

2015 - 2019

Research theme

Scotland's Material Heritage

Contributors

Martin Goldberg - Principal Investigator
National Museums Scotland

Dr Andreas Rau - Co-investigator
Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology, Stiftung Schleswig-Holsteinische Landesmuseen, Germany

  • Spirals in the Norrie’s Law hoard, Fife (AD 450–600).

    Spirals in the Norrie’s Law hoard, Fife (AD 450–600).

  • Surviving silver from the Norrie’s Law hoard, Fife.

    Surviving silver from the Norrie’s Law hoard, Fife.

  • Gaulcross hoard: the silver handpin, bangle and chain found during the 19th century at Gaulcross, Aberdeenshire

    Gaulcross hoard: the silver handpin, bangle and chain found during the 19th century at Gaulcross, Aberdeenshire

  • Traprain Law Treasure: bowl of a silver spoon engraved with a fish, a Christian symbol.

    Traprain Law Treasure: bowl of a silver spoon engraved with a fish, a Christian symbol.

  • Traprain Law Treasure: Panther or leopard-shaped handle, probably from a large wine flagon.

    Traprain Law Treasure: Panther or leopard-shaped handle, probably from a large wine flagon.

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AHRC support enabled National Museums Scotland to spearhead development of an international network to bring together academics, museum professionals, early career researchers and post-graduate students. Our aim was to create lasting cross-disciplinary connections between those involved in the discovery, curation, research and public presentation of early medieval silver from across northern Europe. Together, the network compares and contrasts different strategies towards the supply, circulation and use of silver following the collapse of the Roman Empire and to explore the role of this precious metal in the emergence of the early medieval kingdoms of Europe.

Two specialist meetings of the network took place in 2017 and the fruits of these will be published in a volume of academic papers. There was also an opportunity to come to a public day conference at the National Museum of Scotland in May 2019 to hear about the network’s findings. You can keep up to date with our archaeological research through our blog.

Email icon Dr Martin Goldberg

Partners

About the partnership

Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology

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