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Old September 10th, 2013 #51
Jae Manzel
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 1,066
Jae Manzel
Default Metal ring found in an Irish field turns out to be 10th century silver bracelet

A man who ignored his wife’s request to bin a dirty piece of metal he found in a field has been toasting his instincts after it was declared to be a rare silver piece of Viking jewellery.

David Taylor, 42, from County Down, in Northern Ireland, discovered the 45g silver artefact in a field near Kircubbin on the Ards peninsula and phoned a nearby museum to ask for advice.

Following an inquest hearing at a Belfast court, the jewellery was found to be an arm ring, traditionally worn around a Viking's bicep, and was dated back to between 950 and 1100 AD and has now been sent for valuation by experts at the UK Treasure Valuation Committee.



The UK Treasure Valuation Committee could not give an indication as to how much the arm ring was worth.

For reference, however, a haul of Viking silver and jewellery found in 1998 was valued at more than a million pounds, although that included various cups, bracelets and coins.

During an inquest, the arm ring was found to be at least 90 per cent silver, which is what led researchers to believe it was of Viking origin.

It was said to match the shape and material make-up of other Viking jewellery found.

Experts from the University College Cork believe the ring originated in Shetland or the Orkney isles, which at the time were ruled by Viking leaders including Thorfinn the Skull Splitter.


This means such finds are rare in Ireland.

As well as a piece of jewellery, experts believe the ring was also used as an early form of currency before a coinage system became widespread in Viking cultures.

At almost 45 grams, the ring is close to the weight of two Viking ounces.

The metal object was first spotted lying on a stone found in a field owned by Taylor's brother-in-law, Andrew Coulter.

Taylor, who was helping Coulter remove stones from the field at the Inishargy Road, said he was glad he did not listen to his wife Lynda who claimed the piece was junk.

'She thought it was a bull ring and said ‘throw that in the bin’,' he laughed after the ruling at a special treasure trove inquest hearing at Belfast coroner’s court.
'I just knew by the shape of it, it was something.

John Sheehan, archaeologist from the university told coroner Suzanne Anderson that the field where the ring was found lay close to the remains of a medieval church.

He explained that religious sites were often used as a storage place for valuable items.

With clashes between Viking settlers and native Irish commonplace, the expert suggested the ring may have been taken out of Scandinavian hands.

'Maybe it fell into Irish hands and as a result of that ended up deposited for safe-keeping at a church site but then got lost,' he said.

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