HOARD

Unique ID: YORYM-CEE620

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find validated and published by finds advisers

TREASURE CASE : 2012 T373.

Discovery of the hoard

The hoard was found while searching with a metal-detector on open pasture land.

Contents of the hoard

The hoard comprises an iron sword pommel mounted or inlaid with gold foil plaques and 4 gold hoops from the hilt of the sword, 6 small gold rivets probably from the pommel or hilt, 4 silver collars and neck-rings (one cut in two pieces), 1 silver arm-ring, 1 fragment of a silver 'Permian' ring, 1 silver penannular brooch, and 29 silver ingots.

Surface metal analysis of a representative selection of the items conducted at the British Museum indicated approximate metal contents as follows:-

Sword pommel (no. 1) - the inlays that could be reached are of gold foil alloys with a composition of approximately 88% gold, 11% silver, and 1% copper. Pale grey areas are also visible under the corrosion and some of these are richer in silver; however, it proved impossible to identify the material in the strip close to the base of the pommel.

Ring mount from sword grip (no. 2a) - 88% gold, 11% silver, and 1% copper, i.e. very similar to the gold inlays on the pommel (no. 1).

Ingot (no. 3) - 96% silver, 3% copper, and 1% gold.

Ingot (no. 30) - 97% silver, 1% copper, 0.8% gold, and 0.4% lead.

Part of neck-ring (no. 36a) - the rods are all high silver, with no more than 2% copper detectable in the metal surfaces. Around 1% gold and lead could be detected in most of the areas analysed. It is not clear from the analysis why one of the strands has corroded so much more than the others.

Arm-ring (no. 38) - 97% silver, 1% copper, 2% gold, and a trace of less than 1% lead.

Penannular brooch (no. 39) - 97% silver, 2% copper, 1% gold, and a trace of less than 1% lead.

N.B. the weights and dimensions given below are before cleaning off adhering soil, although in most cases they are unlikely to differ significantly after conservation. Also, a number of the silver objects are marked with testing nicks, but it is not possible to identify them all in their uncleaned state.

Objects of non-precious metal or stone found with the hoard count as Treasure by association with the precious metal finds, but two relatively modern, glazed, cream-coloured, ceramic sherds that were also found have been discounted.


A. Gold inlaid iron

1. Large iron sword pommel with separate, upcurved upper guard; width of pommel, 84mm; height, 52mm; length of guard, 96mm; thickness, 12mm (approx.); weight, 303.5g (total). The pommel is broadly triangular with a convex base and damaged at the apical knob, which has a lower projection on either side. It is inlaid or mounted on both sides with plaques of gold foil decorated with incised animal interlace with nicked edges in the late Anglo-Saxon Trewhiddle Style, which can be dated to the late 9th century, possibly lasting into the early 10th in northern England. The form of the pommel is typical of Petersen's late 9th-century type L (J. Petersen, 1919, De Norske Vikingesverd. En typologisk-kronologisk studie over vikingetidens vaaben, Kristiania, 112-116). Its exceptional size is comparable with the reconstructed pommel from Abingdon, which is decorated in the same style, although it appears to have been higher and the guard a little shorter (D.A. Hinton, 1974, A Catalogue of the Anglo-Saxon Ornamental Metalwork 700-1100 in the Department of Antiquities, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, cat. no. 1; pls. 1-3). But the use of gold foil in the decoration of such pommels is very uncommon, e.g. the small plates on the example from Scales Moor (D.M. Wilson, 1964, Anglo-Saxon Ornamental Metalwork 700-1100 in the British Museum, London, 163-166, no. 65, pl. 29, 65). Silver is far more usual and the extensive use of gold foil on the present find is unique.


B. Gold

2a. One of four oval ring mounts from a sword grip (2a-d), of U-shaped section; length, 37.2mm; width, 21.3mm; height, 5.5mm (max); weight, 8.7g. The edges are beaded and in the centre of the front and back there is a vertical band of a plain central rib flanked by beaded ribs. The panels between the bands are decorated with incised animal interlace in the Trewhiddle Style matching the pommel.

2b. Oval ring mount as 2a above, but distorted and with the decoration obscured by adhering soil; length, 35.9mm; width, 20.2mm (approx.); height, 5.9mm (approx.); weight, 9.3g.

2c. Oval ring mount as 2a above, but the decoration obscured; length, 35.4mm; width, 18.9mm; height, 6.4mm (max); weight, 7.4g.

2d. Oval ring mount as 2a above, but the decoration obscured; length, 34.2mm; width, 18.3mm; height, 5.4mm; weight, 7.2g.

2e. Six tiny, dome-headed rivets, one of them with a bent end; possibly for attaching gold plaques to organic parts of the pommel; lengths around 5 to 6mm; weight, 0.79g (total).


C. Silver

(Note: nos. 3-7 in box 1.)

3. Ingot, bar-shaped with rounded rectangular section and rounded ends; length, 107.2mm; width, 10.2mm; thickness, 8.0mm; weight, 61.4g.

4. Ingot, bar-shaped of thick, trapezoidal section, rounded at one end and tapering to a point at the other; length, 90.1mm; width, 13.6mm (max); thickness, 15.7mm (max); weight, 102.6g.

5. Ingot, bar-shaped of rounded, sub-rectangular section with rounded ends; some testing nicks observed on the edges; length, 83.9mm; width, 13.2mm (max); thickness, 8.7mm (approx.); weight, 59.6g.

6. Ingot, bar-shaped of square section with rounded ends; some testing nicks observed on the edges; length, 89.8mm; width, 12.4mm (max); thickness, 10.1mm (max); weight, 82.9g.

7. Ingot, narrow bar-shaped of rounded, sub-trapezoidal section with rounded ends; length, 90.9mm; width, 9.1mm (max); thickness, 8.9mm; weight 49.7g.

(Note: nos. 8-11 in box 2.)

8. Ingot, bar-shaped of rounded sub-triangular section with rounded ends; hammered obliquely thinner at one end; some testing nicks observed; length, 104.1mm; width, 17.9mm (max); thickness, 13.2mm; weight, 146.8g.

9. Ingot, bar-shaped of ovoid section; rounded at narrower end and cut across the other; hacksilver; some testing nicks observed; length, 79.3mm; width, 15.2mm (max); thickness, 10.9mm (max); weight, 71.8g.

10. Ingot, bar-shaped of rounded trapezoidal section with rounded ends; length, 90.5mm; width, 13.8mm (max); thickness, 12.4mm (approx.); weight, 102.5g.

11. Ingot, bar-shaped of rounded trapezoidal section with rounded ends; some testing nicks observed; length, 78.2mm; width, 14.0mm (max); thickness, 10.7mm; weight, 76.3g.

(Note: nos. 12-16 in box 3.)

12. Ingot, bar-shaped of rounded trapezoidal section with rounded ends; length, 91.5mm; width, 14.3mm (approx.); thickness, 10.7mm (approx.); weight, 88.8g.

13. Ingot, narrow bar-shaped of rounded triangular section with rounded ends; length, 101.5mm; width, 8.2mm; thickness, 10.3mm; weight, 62.4g.

14. Ingot, bar-shaped of rounded trapezoidal section, curving up to rounded ends; four deep, transverse furrows on top; length, 100.9mm; width, 15.6mm (approx.); thickness, 9.8mm (approx.); weight, 100.8g.

15. Ingot, oblong of ovoid section with rounded ends; median furrow on top; length, 74.0mm; width, 17.1mm; thickness, 10.0mm (max); weight, 78.1g.

16. Ingot, bar-shaped of rounded trapezoidal section, thickening in the middle and with rounded ends; testing nick(s) observed; length, 65.7mm; width, 19.0mm (max); thickness, 11.0mm (max); weight, 75.2g.

(Note: nos. 17-20 in box 4.)

17. Ingot, long, narrow bar-shaped of rounded trapezoidal section with rounded ends; length, 116.0mm; width, 13.0mm; thickness, 11.5mm (approx); weight, 107.5g.

18. Ingot, bar-shaped of rounded triangular section, the base curving up to rounded ends; length, 93.9mm; width, 9.9mm (max); thickness, 14.5mm (max); weight, 79.6g.

19. Ingot, bar-shaped of triangular section, the base curving up to rounded ends; testing nick(s) observed; length, 90.9mm; width, 10.0mm (max); thickness, 13.5mm (max); weight, 69.3g.

20. Ingot terminal, bar-shaped of flattish trapezoidal section, rounded at one end and cut across the other; hacksilver; length, 82.0mm; width, 19.0mm (approx.); thickness, 10.5mm (max); weight, 115.8g.

(Note: nos. 21-26 in box 5.)

21. Ingot terminal, thick, bar-shaped of rounded triangular section, rounded at one end and cut across the other; hacksilver; length, 58.1mm; width, 18.3mm; thickness, 16.5mm; weight, 95.8g.

22. Ingot terminal, bar-shaped of trapezoidal section, rounded at one end and cut across the other; hacksilver; testing nicks observed; length, 59.4mm; width, 13.4mm (max); thickness, 9.9mm; weight, 51.8g.

23. Ingot, long, narrow, bar-shaped of flattened ovoid section tapering to round-pointed ends; testing nicks observed; length, 128.1mm; width, 13.3mm (max); thickness, 6.8mm (approx.); weight, 73.6g.

24. Ingot, oblong bar-shaped of rounded sub-triangular section; testing nicks observed; length, 73.7mm; width, 13.7mm (max); thickness, 8.5mm; weight, 58.7g.

25. Ingot, bar-shaped of rounded sub-triangular section with rounded ends; testing nicks observed; length, 66.3mm; width, 13.0mm (max); thickness, 10.0mm; weight, 51.5g.

26. Ingot, oblong bar-shaped of rounded sub-triangular section with one broad, rounded end, the other obliquely rounded; testing nicks observed; length, 63.7mm; width, 18.0mm (max); thickness, 10.8mm (approx); weight, 72.5g.

(Note: nos. 27-29 in box 6.)

27. Ingot, oblong bar-shaped of flattened ovoid section with broad, rounded ends; testing nicks observed; length, 103.8mm; width, 20.4mm (max); thickness, 9.3mm; weight, 129.5g.

28. Ingot, looped bar of rounded trapezoidal section with touching, pointed ends; testing nicks observed; length, 81.0mm (loop); width (bar), 13.0mm (max); thickness, 9.4mm (approx); weight, 117.9g.

29. Ingot, looped rod of sub-circular section tapering slightly to touching ends which have been cut off; hacksilver; length (loop), 62.6mm; diameter (rod), 9.0mm (max); weight, 74.3g.

30. Ingot, long bar-shaped of rounded trapezoidal section tapering to ends; testing nicks observed; length, 142.7mm; width, 14.4mm (max); thickness, 9.3mm (max); weight, 127.5g.

31. Ingot, long bar-shaped of rounded triangular section, almost complete and tapering to one end which has been clipped off; hacksilver; testing nicks observed; length, 120.3mm; width, 12.3mm (max); thickness, 8.2mm (max); weight, 70.0g.

The ingots itemised above are of typical Viking-period forms, e.g. from the famous Cuerdale Hoard, Lancashire, deposited around 905 - 910 (J. Graham-Campbell, 2011, The Cuerdale Hoard and related Viking-Age silver and gold from Britain and Ireland in the British Museum, London, British Museum Press, pls. 3-14).


32. Collar composed of four ropes of plaited or twisted rods hammer-welded side by side at each end into triangular terminals of flat rectangular section, which taper into long hooks with scrolled ends. The outermost rope appears to be of 6 thick, plaited rods and the inner 3 'hollow' ropes each of 3 coiled strands of double-twisted rods with plaited ends. A 55mm length of the innermost rope is broken off next to the terminal (= no. 33 below). Length (across), 260mm; width, 155mm; weight 537.4g (546.4g in total including no. 33). The form appears to represent a unique, 'West Viking' variant, although all its various components can be readily paralleled.

33. Length of rope consisting of plaited rods, which is the piece missing from no. 32 above; length, 56.2mm; diameter, 7.2mm (max); weight, 9.0g.

34. Neck-ring coiled into an oval loop and of square section consisting of 6 rods with their ends hammer-welded into long, tapering terminals of square section ending in hooks with scrolled tips; length (loop), 118.9mm (max); width, 8.5mm; weight, 122.3g. It is a standard Viking form.

35. Neck-ring coiled into an oval loop and consisting of 6 plaited rods with their ends hammer-welded into long, tapering terminals of round section ending in hooks with scrolled tips; tentative testing nicks observed; length (of loop), 142.0mm (max); width, 9.2mm; weight, 124.8g. It is a standard Viking form.

36. Neck-ring cut in two halves. Half (a) is folded into a loop and consists of 3 ropes of twisted or plaited rods hammer-welded together side by side at one end into a long, flat, triangular terminal of rectangular section incised with 5 side-by-side lines and bent up to a domed knob that is decorated with radial grooves and has a slightly flared, cast, beaded collar round the base. The outer ropes are of triple twisted rods and the central one of 6 plaited rods and one of the rods is of a darker colour; hacksilver; testing nicks on either side of terminal and on rods. Length (of loop), 84.6mm; width (loop), 21.0mm; height of knob, 8.4mm; weight 107.7g. The form is unique in several respects, representing an unusual 'West Viking' variant.

Half (b) is folded into a loop and constructed as half (a), but with 7 or 8 grooves on the terminal that ends in a flat ring decorated with a row of small, punched circles; hacksilver; testing nick on either side of terminal; length (loop), 95.6mm; width, 47.5mm; diameter of ring, 18mm; weight, 141.5g.

37. Length of rod of closely spiral-striated appearance, tightly folded twice and with the ends broken off; hacksilver; length (of loop), 112.6mm; width, 23.3mm; diameter, 4.4mm; weight 54.0g. The rod is a fragment of a 'Permian' ring of the 9th/early 10th century, a type of neck-ring probably originating in northern Russia, which was imported into Scandinavia during the early part of the Viking period and converted into spiral arm-rings; local imitations were also produced there (Graham-Campbell, op. cit., 88-9, pl. 18).

38. Arm-ring of broad penannular band with a slightly expanded mid-portion and the terminals slightly turned in and expanded; the centre is decorated with a saltire arrangement of punched bar-stamps toothed on either side of a median ridge and the rest of the hoop is decorated transversely with the same stamp alternating with plain strips that is used again in chevrons on the terminals; 3 or 4 testing nicks observed on the edges; length (across), 100.3mm; width (across), 43.0mm (approx.); width (of band at centre), 21.9mm; thickness, 4.5mm; weight, 131.7g. The arm-ring represents a fine example of a standard Hiberno-Scandinavian type, made for use in a bullion economy, and the majority of which appears to have been produced around 880 - 930 (J. Sheehan, 2011, 'Hiberno-Scandinavian broad-band arm-rings', pp. 94-100 in Graham-Campbell, op. cit.). The weight compares closely with that of arm-ring no. 7 from the Vale of York Hoard and is almost exactly five times the base unit of 26.15g that has been postulated by Sheehan for the production of the type (DCMS Portable Antiquities and Treasure Annual Report 2007, no. 217: 7).

39. Hacksilver partial bossed penannular brooch folded double twice and crushed; one curved triangular terminal survives, but the other has been mostly cut off and only a third of it remains, while the pin is missing; both terminals are stepped down to a plain hoop of plano-convex section. A border rib on the surviving terminal encloses a sunken field decorated with 3 plain, dome-headed rivets and the stub of a fourth left in the centre; the rivet nearest the hoop has a filigree collar round the base, as does the single surviving rivet in the cut-down terminal. There are traces of putative animal heads at the junctions of the hoop and terminals and further traces of decoration on the back of the surviving terminal consisting of a double groove across the end enclosing a row of tiny punched triangles and a worn ring of similar ornament surrounding the end of one of the rivets; double testing nick on one of the rivet heads on the surviving terminal; length, 57.1mm; width (end of terminal), 28.9mm; height (of loop), 36.0mm (max); weight, 66.0g. Bossed penannular brooches are a mainly Irish type, dating from the later 9th century and continuing into the 10th, but this piece is of a hitherto unknown type.


D. Iron

40. Fragment of flat, corroded plate; 95.6 x 86.2mm; weight, 138.3g. This plate and further fragments (no. 41) appears to have been used as a cover for the pommel and silver items and was in turn covered by the flat stone (no. 45).

41. Fragments of plate (x7) and a lump of ferrous corrosion product; lengths, 23.0mm - 60.7mm; weight, 97.8g (total).

42(a). Tack(?); length, 12.9mm; weight, 1.1g; (b) fragment of shank of tack(?); length, 14.6mm; weight, 0.6g.


E. Lead?

43. Fragment of corroded sheet; 20.4 x 14.0mm; weight, 3.2g.


F. Stone, etc.

44. Flat stone with one straight and three wavy edges; length, 178.0mm; width, 128.0mm; thickness, 16.9mm; weight, 467.2g. This stone appears to have been deliberately used to cover the iron plate (nos. 40-41 above), which directly overlay the hoard itself.

45. Fragment of stone, or bone(?); length. 13.9mm; weight, 0.6g.

Total weight of gold items: 33.39g; total weight of silver items: 3,748.6g; total weight of precious metal items: 3,781.99g; total weight of hoard including pommel of gold and iron: 4,085.49g.

The hoard from the Bedale area would therefore qualify as Treasure under two of the stipulated criteria of the Treasure Act: it is more than 300 years old and the precious metal content exceeds 10%.

The hoard is not disclaimed at either a local or a national level, since York Museum Trust has expressed an interest in acquiring it and the British Museum would attempt to do so should local efforts fail.

I am most grateful to Professor James Graham-Campbell for his extremely helpful comments on an early draft of this report.


B.M. Ager

Curator
Department of Prehistory & Europe
British Museum

26 September 2012

Subsequent actions

Current location of find: York Museums Trust
Subsequent action after recording: Acquired by museum after being declared Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2012T373

Chronology

Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Period from: EARLY MEDIEVAL [scope notes | view all attributed records]
Date from: Circa AD 850
Date to: Circa AD 950

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 47

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mrs Rebecca Griffiths - [ view all attributed records]
Identified by: Mrs Rebecca Griffiths - [view all attributed records]
Secondary identifier: Mr Barry Ager - [ view all attributed records]

Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2012T373

Materials and construction

Primary material: Silver [scope notes | view all attributed records]
Secondary material: Gold [scope notes| view all attributed records]
Manufacture method: Cast [scope notes | view all attributed records]
Completeness: Complete [scope notes | view all attributed records]

A resized image of Early Medieval : Hoard

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Spatial metadata

Region: Yorkshire And The Humber
County: North Yorkshire
District: Hambleton
To be known as: Bedale Area

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: GPS (from the finder)
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector [scope notes]
General landuse: Cultivated land[scope notes]
Specific landuse: Character undetermined[scope notes]

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Created: Wednesday 23rd May 2012
Updated: 2 weeks, 5 days ago

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