Isle of Man Viking silver ingot declared treasure

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A 1,000-year-old silver ingot found by a metal detectorist is of “real importance” in understanding the Viking period on the Isle of Man, a heritage organisation has said.

The 1.4 inch (3.5cm) oblong silver piece was found by Lee Morgan in the south of the island in September.

Manx National Heritage (MNH) said the find would help “build up a bigger and clearer picture of the Viking Age”.

The ingot was declared treasure at an inquest hearing at Douglas Courthouse.

Allison Fox holding the silver ingot
Image caption,Allison Fox gave evidence on behalf of Manx National Heritage at the court hearing

The piece, which dates back to between 950 and 1075 AD, will be on display at the Manx Museum from Saturday.

Silver ingots were used for trading during Viking times as, unlike coins, they had no specific currency.

Allison Fox, a curator of archaeology at MNH, said Viking Age finds were “absolutely crucial” to understanding the influence of the period on the island.

“We’ve still got the Tynwald, so what happened in the Viking Age is crucial and any little bit of evidence that we can gain is of real importance,” she said.

The ingot offers further evidence that the Vikings were “using the Isle of Man as a financial offshore centre for their trading empire”, she added.

Hand holding the silver ingot
Image caption,The silver Viking treasure will be put on display at the Manx Museum

Finds of archaeological interest must be reported to MNH and items of precious metal that are more than 300 years old are the subject of a legal ruling by a coroner.

If declared treasure, items belong to the Crown and are held in trust by MNH, while the finder is rewarded.

It is the second item to be declared treasure under new laws introduced in 2017.

Under previous laws, the item could only be declared treasure if it was proven that the original owner intentionally buried it, rather than it being accidentally lost.

The current laws do not take that into consideration.

This article was originally published in BBC News on December 6, 2019.

Published by Jules William Press

Jules William Press is a small press devoted to publishing the best about the Viking Age, Old Norse, and the Atlantic and Northern European regions. Jules William Press was founded in 2013 to address the needs of modern students, teachers, and self-learners for accessible and affordable Old Norse texts. JWP began by publishing our Viking Language Series, which provides a modern course in Old Norse, with exercises and grammar that anyone can understand. This spirit motivates all of our publications, as we expand our catalogue to include Viking archaeology and history, as well as Scandinavian historical fiction and our Saga Series.

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