25 January 2022
A major new display showing the Silverdale Hoard will run for a year at Jorvik Viking Centre.
An incredible collection of silver jewellery and coins, found in a lead container buried in Lancashire, is set to form the centrepiece of a new year-long display at York’s JORVIK Viking Centre. The Silverdale Hoard, dating back to around AD 900, will arrive for a year-long exhibition on 8 February 2022.
The Silverdale Hoard is one of the largest Viking hoards ever discovered in the UK, and has been loaned to JORVIK Viking Centre by Lancashire County Museum Service. The full hoard contains over 200 pieces, with key pieces – including arm rings, hacksilver, ingots and coins, plus the lead container in which they were buried - displayed in dedicated cases in JORVIK’s artefacts gallery.
Christine McDonnell, Head of Collections and Archives at the JORVIK Viking Centre, said, “This is the first time since its discovery that the Silverdale Hoard has been displayed outside of Lancashire, where it was unearthed by metal detectorist Darren Webster in 2011. With thousands of people coming to JORVIK every week to learn about the Vikings, we’re extremely excited to be able to host this remarkable collection for the next 12 months.”
Whilst the provenance of hoards is always mysterious, raising questions as to the reason anyone might have for burying all of their valuables in a random field, and what stopped them from returning to collect it – the content often gives a valuable insight into life and society at the time it was buried. Several Viking-age hoards have been discovered along the route between the centres of Scandinavian power in Dublin and York, including the one found at Silverdale.
Christine added, “Items made of precious metals like silver would often be used as bullion currency. Hoards provide historians with a snapshot of society at the time they were hidden. This hoard, for example, features a coin minted in the name of Harthacnut – a ruler whose name was previously lost to history. Other coins show the broad connections of the Viking world, from Northumbria to Baghdad.”.
A special free virtual presentation marking the arrival of the Silverdale Hoard will take place in February as part of That JORVIK Viking Thing, the online Viking festival. Dr Gareth Williams of the British Museum will explain the hoard’s significance and the steps the British Museum took to conserve the find in a free online lecture.
Director of Attractions, Sarah Maltby said, “With the postponement of JORVIK Viking Festival from February to May, we’re pleased to be able to announce the arrival of the Silverdale Hoard for anyone still planning to make a trip to the city during the February half term. We’ll be announcing another special treat shortly, so our advice for any Viking enthusiasts is to get tickets booked for a half-term visit to JORVIK Viking Centre as soon as you can – even without the physical Viking Festival, we’re expecting it to be busy!”
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