Large amounts of Viking treasure have been found in Dumfries, southern Scotland, by a retired businessman.
Derek McLennan was running his metal detector around some fields owned by the Church of Scotland when he discovered a hoard worth around a million pounds (9.33 million kroner).
The treasure consists of gold, silver, glass, enameled objects and textiles – many of which were perfectly preserved and will now be meticulously identified.
‘Viking!’ as opposed to 'Ya Dancer!'
Apparently, McLennan shouted “Viking!” upon discovering the first artefact – a silver arm ring thought to originate from Ireland.
The Vikings used the Irish Sea as a passage between Scandinavia and Central Europe, so finds in areas like Dumfriesshire are not uncommon. Vikings first plundered the west coast of Scotland at the close of the 8th century, and this treasure is believed to originate from the 9th or 10th century.
McLennan, who is a keen treasure hunter, has previously discovered Viking coins in the same area.
Everything but the kitchen sink
Fittingly, a major object discovered was a solid silver cross with enameled decorations.
McLennan told the Scotsman that he believes the decorations on the cross resemble the four apostles – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – and that he thinks this might demonstrate a connection between the Vikings and carvings on St Cuthbert’s coffin in Durham Cathedral.
A cup engraved with several animals and thought to originate from the Holy Roman Empire is also a significant find.
Other objects discovered include a gold bird-shaped pin, silver stamp-decorated bracelets and beads from Scandinavia.
McLennan and the Church of Scotland have reached an agreement on splitting the monetary reward from the hoard.
Meanwhile, Fiona Hyslop, the Scottish government's secretary for culture, thinks the greatest value of the artefacts will be “in what they can contribute to our understanding of life in early medieval Scotland, and what they tell us about the interaction between the different people in these islands at that time”.