Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Rare Viking gold found in Northern Ireland

A rare piece of Viking gold dating back more than a thousand years was discovered by an amateur treasure hunter in County Down in Northern Ireland in 2013. The metal, 86 per cent pure gold, was used during the Viking period as currency and measured by weight and were often cut into smaller amounts.

Tom Crawford of Brickland in County Down made the discovery.
Written records say the Vikings plundered Loughbrickland in 833 AD. The gold may be a direct result of contact between locals and the Scandinavians. Nearby regions of Strangford and Carlingford loughs were areas of intense and enduring Viking activity.

Gold is extremely rare in the Viking period, while there are vast quantities of silver. There are very, very few parallels to the ingot.
In March 2012 a treasure hunter with a metal detector unearthed a 3,000-year-old piece of ornate gold jewellery from a bog in Northern Ireland.

Ronald Johnston first thought the Bronze Age torc was an old car spring. The coiled metal, typically worn around the neck or waist, would actually have belonged to a Celt who had “access to extreme wealth,” said Armagh County Museum’s Andrea Kennedy.
The torc would date from 1300 to 1100 B.C.

A symbol of the Celts’ “delight in gaudy ostentation,” according to the ancient Greek philosopher Poseidonius, torcs carried distinctive designs created by local blacksmiths. The word torc comes from the Latin for “to twist” or torque.