An exciting exhibition of Viking-age treasure runs at Aberdeen Art Gallery until Sunday 23 October 2022, an etching of enigmas, a modern mystery in silver and silk.
The Galloway Hoard, discovered in South Scotland in 2014, dates from around 900AD and comprises the largest collection of Viking-age gold in the UK and Ireland, in addition to one of the largest collections of silver.
Unusually for a Viking-age hoard, an Anglo-Saxon cross was recovered in the top level of the find. In the four arms of the cross are depicted: Saint Matthew, Saint Mark (as a winged lion), Saint Luke (winged ox) and Saint John (eagle).
Many silver arm rings were found in the top and lower levels of the hoard.
An intriguing feature of the hoard is a silver-gilt vessel of possible Central Asian origin, containing charms and amulets. The vessel was found wrapped in wool and other material, preserved over time due to the effects of metal corrosion.
There are many fascinating elements to the treasure. Four arm bands are bound together, suggestive of a binding contract between four unknown persons.
A small box contains a gold ingot, ring and bird pin. The bird may depict a mythical phoenix.
The hoard is still being investigated by an expert team, so more dynamic discoveries that alter our understanding of the Viking-age may emerge.
Expert research to date can be sourced in the fascinating book “The Galloway Hoard: Viking-age Treasure” by Martin Goldberg and Mary Davis.