Largest Viking treasure hoards found in northern England

Viking treasure
One of the biggest Viking treasures ever found has been discovered on an English farm by a father-son team of treasure hunters, the British Museum said Thursday.

The trove of coins and jewelry was buried more than 1,000 years ago — a collection of items drawn from Ireland, France, Russia and Scandinavia in a testament to the raiders' international reach and commercial prowess.

"It's a fascinating find, it's the largest find of its type of over 150 years," said Gareth Williams, an expert at the British Museum who examined the trove.

He said it was the largest such find ever seen in Britain since the 1840 discovery of the Cuerdale Hoard — a mass of 8,500 silver coins, chains, and amulets.

The booty was likely accumulated through a combination of commerce and warfare, Williams said. Its quantity indicated that at least some of it was taken by force, perhaps in raids on northern Europe or Scandinavia, he said.

The items were manufactured as far afield as Afghanistan, Russia and Scandinavia.

The Vikings raids were chronicled as early as the eighth century by Christian monks on the coasts of northern Europe. The raids spread throughout Europe, from modern day Spain to Turkey.

In some places, the raids grew into full-fledged invasions, and Viking kingdoms were established in Britain, Ireland, and Normandy, in France, among other places.

The British Museum said that the loot was hidden some time after the fall of the Viking Kingdom of Northumbria in 927. Vikings often buried their wealth in times of trouble.

Link & Image: International Herald Tribune
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