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Viking treasure hoard found in Dumfries and Galloway

Church of Scotland logoA hoard of Viking treasure has been unearthed by a metal-detecting enthusiast in one of the most significant finds of its kind ever made in Scotland.

More than 100 objects, some of them made of gold, were discovered on church land at an undisclosed location in Dumfries and Galloway.

The “historically significant” find was made by Derek McLennan, 47, a committed metal detectorist who had been searching the area for the last year.

The rich hoard of artefacts, many of which are unique, includes some of Carolingian (west European) and Irish origin. The material comprises many silver ingots, armbands and brooches, as well as several gold objects, Scotland’s Treasure Trove Unit announced.

The Church of Scotland, on whose land the discovery was made, said an early Christian cross thought to date from the 9th or 10th century was among the objects unearthed.

The solid silver cross has enamelled decorations which experts consider to be highly unusual.

Mr McLennan found the cross among dozens of silver arm rings and ingots some 24 inches (60 centimetres) below the ground – well beyond the depth his machine should have been able to register.

When the hole was fully excavated, Mr McLennan picked up another signal at its base. Further digging revealed a second level hoard of even higher quality, the Kirk said. That find included what is possibly the largest silver Carolingian pot ever discovered, with its lid still in place.

The pot is likely to have been around 100 years old when the hoard was buried in the mid 9th or 10th centuries.

Mr McLennan said: “We still don’t know exactly what is in the pot, but I hope it could reveal who these artefacts belonged to, or at least where they came from.”

When the discovery was made in early September, he was in the company of two ministers who are also detectorists; Rev Dr David Bartholomew, a Church of Scotland minister of a rural Galloway charge, and Mike Smith, the pastor of an Elim Pentecostal Church in Galloway.

• Full story at The Herald.

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