On the Isle of Man, a very small piece of land between England and Ireland, gold and silver artifacts have been found dating back to some Viking community dating back to 950 AD An extraordinary find for the international academic community, so much so that objects were immediately declared as a “national treasure”.
This was stated by the Manx National Heritage, an antiquities research and preservation organization, which will take care of the preservation of the finds – as requested by the island government.
The peculiarity of this discovery, like that of many others, is the randomness with which it occurred. The treasures were found by an amateur treasure seeker, Kath Giles. With her trusty metal detector she traveled to many territories of the island to make what, according to her, could have been the discovery of her life. And perhaps it was precisely this tenacity that paid off.
The first thing that was found was one brooch in silver in many small pieces and, subsequently, he tracked down the most important find of this great booty: a ring for the arms completely in gold.
Giles herself stated in an interview: “I was not only thrilled to have found artifacts that I felt were important, but also because they were beautiful“.
The woman immediately contacted Manx National Heritage to have the authorities ascertain that there were no other artifacts in the area of the discovery and, subsequently, gave them the objects.
Allison Fox, curator of the archeology section of the institution, explained, at the announcement of the discovery, that it is quite rare to find gold objects of the Viking period. This metal had a very high value and it was, however, more common, even among the high members of the tribal elite, to show off silver accessories – another material symbol of wealth and importance, but, at the same time, easier to obtain through trade. . In contrast, gold is thought to be equivalent to around 900 silver coins.
The study of the metals used in Viking objects may seem trivial, but, in reality, it is extremely important to understand what dynamics of power were evolving – as shown by the analysis on the mysterious Anglo-Saxon cross stolen by the Vikings themselves in the Galloway collection.
The decision to consider the finds as a national historical treasure derives precisely from the date on which, probably, they were produced: 950 AD. In that specific time frame, the Isle of Man was an extremely important economic and trading center. The influx of the many populations of Northern Europe, precisely in this small piece of land, left indelible marks, which influenced the history of the island for over 300 years – much more than any other small English maritime lands.
At present it is not known what monetary value these finds have, nor how much Kath Giles will be paid for its discovery (a compensation provided by the law of the island in case of historical finds). For sure we will talk about it in the future when a private commission provides more details.