Viking treasure will be on display at Aberdeen Art Gallery


One of the most important British archaeological finds of the century – The Galloway Hoard – will be on display at the Aberdeen Art Gallery.

The new exhibit, Galloway Hoard: Viking-age Treasure, offers the first chance to see details – hidden by dirt and corrosion from over a thousand years – revealed by conservation experts, thorough cleaning and cutting-edge research.

Currently on display at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, history buffs from the North East will be able to view the exhibition at the Aberdeen Art Gallery from July 30, 2022 to October 23, 2022.

The treasure is the richest collection of rare and unique objects from the Viking Age ever found in Britain or Ireland. Buried around 900 AD, it brings together an astonishing variety of objects and materials in a single find.

In addition to the cleaned and preserved artefacts on display, the audiovisual and graphics will provide a behind-the-scenes look at archaeological and scientific details.

Galloway Hoard covered vessel. Photo from Historic Environment Scotland

Using modern technology to discover Viking treasures

A major revelation is a new detail of the single-lid container that held the precious treasures of the Galloway Hoard. The container itself is wrapped in textiles which both cover the object and make it too fragile to display.

However, new 3D models, derived from X-ray imaging performed at the British Museum and produced with the help of the Glasgow School of Art and Steven Dey of Thinksee3D Ltd, have allowed researchers to see under textiles to have a preview of the decorated surface. of the ship, revealing new details about its age and origin.

Dr Martin Goldberg, Senior Curator, Medieval Archeology and History at the National Museums of Scotland, said: It’s like the other two.

“However, the 3D model reveals that the ship is not from the Carolingian Empire (Saint Roman) of mainland Europe as we had predicted based on other similar examples.

“Instead, the decoration and design shows leopards, tigers and Zoroastrian religious symbols, all of which suggest that this is a piece of metalwork from Central Asia halfway around the world known. . “

Where does the Galloway Hoard ship come from?

Galloway Treasure
Anglo-Saxon ironwork inside the Galloway Hoard’s lidded container.

Another surprise came from the radiocarbon dating of the wool enveloping the ship, which dates to 680-780 AD.

Dr Martin Goldberg added: “So the ship comes from beyond Europe, potentially thousands of miles away, and the wool that envelops it predates the Viking Age, having more than 100 or maybe even 200 years old when he was buried.

“While the real ship is still wrapped in 1,300 year old fabric and stored safely in environmentally controlled stores for preservation and future research, it is wonderful to be able to use 21st century technology in the exhibit. to let people see what it looks like. as under these fragile textile packaging.

Bird pin preserved.

Dr Martin Goldberg said it is the “unique combination of familiar objects, exotic materials and exceptional preservation” that makes the Galloway Hoard a fascinating find.

The retired businessman and Derek McLennan discovered the treasure in 2014 while walking through an area of ​​church grounds in Dumfries and Galloway with two local ministers.

Research continues on the Galloway Hoard. The Arts and Humanities Research Council has given support to a £ 1million three-year research project, Unwrapping the Galloway Hoard, led by National Museums Scotland in partnership with the University of Glasgow which will start later this month -this.

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