The Galloway Hoard brings together the richest collection of rare and unique Viking-age objects ever found in Britain or Ireland.

Nothing like this has ever been found in Scotland.
- Dr Martin Goldberg, Senior Curator, Early Medieval and Viking Collections

What is the Galloway Hoard?

Buried at the beginning of the 10th century in Dumfries and Galloway, the Galloway Hoard lay undisturbed for a thousand years before being unearthed by a metal detectorist in September 2014.

This incredible discovery comprises more than 100 objects, including a rich Viking Age hoard of silver jewellery and ingots. It also contains an unparalleled range of precious metal and jewelled items, including a rare gold ingot, a unique gold bird-shaped pin and a decorated silver-gilt vessel, the only complete lidded vessel of its type ever discovered in Britain and Ireland.

This vessel contains further unusual objects: beads; amulets of glass and rock crystal; a silver penannular brooch; another gold ingot; five Anglo-Saxon disc brooches of a kind not found in Scotland before; and two examples of a new type of quatrefoil brooch. Carefully wrapped in fragile textile bundles are a rock crystal flask or jar and jewelled aestels, pointers used to read and mark places within medieval manuscripts.

Brooches found with the Galloway Hoard

Above: Anglo-Saxon disc brooches.

Silver found with the Galloway Hoard

Above: Hinged mounts with Anglo-Saxon Trewhiddle-style decoration.

Brooch found with the Galloway Hoard

Above: A new type of Anglo-Saxon quatrefoil brooch.

Gold bird pin found with the Galloway Hoard

Above: This gold bird pin is unique.

What makes the Galloway Hoard unique?

Other finds from around Britain or Ireland have been exceptional for a single class of object—for example, silver brooches or armlets. But the Galloway Hoard brings together a stunning 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, some of which are utterly unique.

Incredibly, textiles, leather and wooden fragments have also survived, providing an extremely rare opportunity to research and reveal many lost aspects of the Viking Age.

Who did the objects in the Hoard belong to? Where did they come from? Why were they buried? At the moment this is a mystery, but an integrated conservation and research programme can help find answers.

We like to think of objects as having lives… Our research will trace the stories of the objects back to when and where they were made, as well as why they were buried at that time and in that place. That range of stories will expand our knowledge of the Viking Age.
- Dr Martin Goldberg, Senior Curator, Early Medieval and Viking Collections

Why is the Hoard so important?

The runes inscribed on this armlet are not Scandinavian, as expected, but Anglian. Do they provide a clue to the people who hid the Hoard?

The Galloway Hoard transports us back to a critical moment in history: the formation of the political entities we now know as Scotland, England and Ireland.

At the start of the 10th century, Alfred the Great had succeeded in pushing back the Danes and his descendants had begun to lay the foundations of medieval England. Meanwhile, in the north, Alba – the foundation of medieval Scotland – was forming. With its central location within the British Isles, Galloway sat at the heart of these political developments and had close connections to Ireland.

Map of Britain and Ireland showing the location of Galloway, where the Hoard was discovered.

Above: Map of Britain and Ireland showing the location of Galloway, where the Hoard was discovered.

The secrets held within the Hoard will reveal new insights into a previously hidden history; to help imagine people from the past; to understand their stories through these amazing objects – and in doing so, to revisit our preconceptions about who we are and where we come from.

In the films below, Dr Martin Goldberg reveals a new insight into the arm rings found with the Hoard, which he discovered when he saw the treasure laid out together, and explains why the story of the Hoard is the story of the people who made, owned and buried it.

What can we do to save the Hoard?

This kind of Anglo-Saxon disc brooch has never been found in Scotland before.

National Museums Scotland has been given the chance to save the Galloway Hoard for the nation, but to do so, we need your help to raise £1.98million by November 2017. Further funds are also needed to conserve, research and display the hoard, safeguarding it for the future and revealing lost aspects of the Viking Age to the widest possible audience.

Wow! A simply stunning hoard. The exquisite bird-shaped pin alone makes it absolutely unique in British history. Please let’s make sure it stays in the possession of National Museums Scotland. They’re uniquely qualified to do the years of detailed research the hoard will generate.
- Sir Tony Robinson

Sir Tony Robinson supports our campaign to save the Galloway Hoard 

You can save the Galloway Hoard, but there isn’t much time. Donate now to secure the hoard and help unlock its secrets.


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