1. The Vale of York Hoard, buried AD 927–28, found in 2007.

Vikings on the move

The most significant Viking treasure hoards ever discovered in Britain will go on show together for the first time in May at the Yorkshire Museum, before going on tour.

Featuring some internationally significant finds,Viking: Rediscover the Legend will explore how these Scandinavian invaders transformed life in Britain. Star objects on loan from the British Museum displayed alongside choice pieces from the Yorkshire Museum's world-class collections will be interpreted in new ways to give a fresh perspective on how Vikings shaped every aspect of life in Britain.


2. Seal of Snarrus the Tax Collector, AD 1100–99.

The exhibition will include the most famous Viking hoards ever discovered in this country, including the Vale of York Viking Hoard (1), the Cuerdale Hoard and the Bedale Hoard. It will also feature ground-breaking research by archaeologists and new discoveries by metal-detectorists that will challenge our perceptions of what it means to be a Viking.

Buried in AD 927–28, the size and quality of the material in the Vale of York Viking Hoard is remarkable. It includes: 617 coins, around 70 pieces of jewellery, hack silver and ingots, all contained within a silver-gilt cup. It was discovered near Harrogate in North Yorkshire in January 2007 by two metal-detectorists and is valued at £1,082,000.


3. The ornate hilt of the Gilling Sword, AD 800-66, is decorated with silver.

Other treasures include the Seal of Snarrus (2), which is made of walrus ivory probably imported from the Baltic region. Its owner's name is inscribed around the outside edge of the seal; he is shown in his role as a tax, or toll, collector with money being dropped into his purse. He extracted tolls from the people who came to York to
trade and used the seal as the symbol of his authority. Snarrus is a Viking name that survived into the Norman period in York.


4. The Ormside Bowl, AD 750-800, is made of gilded silver and bronze.

The two-edged iron Gilling Sword (3) has an ornate handle decorated with silver in geometric and plant designs. Dating to AD 800–66, it was found by a nine-year-old boy in 1976. While the beautifully decorated double-shelled Ormside Bowl (4) is one of the finest pieces of Anglo-Saxon silverwork to be found in Britain. It is made of gilded silver and bronze with blue glass beads and it dates from the mid-8th century. The bowl, which was discovered in 1823 buried next to a Viking warrior in Great Ormside, Cumbria, started life as an ecclesiastical vessel, used in a religious house, before it was probably looted by Viking raiders, or given to them in tribute.

• Viking: Rediscover the Legend will be on show at Yorkshire Museum in York (www.yorkshiremuseum.org.uk) from 19 May to 5 November 2017 (for more detailed information about Vikings in York go to: www.historyofyork.org.uk).

• The exhibition will then go on tour to the University of Nottingham Museum from 24 November 2017 to 4 March 2018; The Atkinson, Southport, from 31 March to 3 June 2018; Aberdeen Art Gallery from 23 June to 11 November 2018 and, finally, Norwich Castle Museum from 9 February to 8 September 2019.
Lindsay Fulcher


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