Metal detectorist finds Viking hoard in Isle of Man

Silver ingots found at Andreas have been declared treasure trove

Silver ingots found at Andreas have been declared treasure trove

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A Viking hoard unearthed by a metal detectorist in a farmer’s field has been declared Treasure Trove.

Seth Crowe, of Bircham Avenue, Ramsey, made the startling discovery at Ballaseyr Farm, Andreas Road, Andreas, over three days in April last year.

First he found a small silver ingot, covered in about 6ins of soil, then nearby a cut rectangular ingot and finally part of a silver brooch.

In a statement read out at a Treasure Trove inquest, Mr Crowe said: ‘I knew I had found something of value, possibly silver.’

He said he had felt proud of discovering something of value and interest and had handed them in to Allison Fox, curator of archaeology at the Manx Museum. Giving evidence at the inquest, Ms Fox estimated the artefacts dated from 930 to 980AD.

She said a very similar silver ingot was found by another metal detectorist at the same location in 2009 and all these items were likely to be part of the same hoard.

Ms Fox explained that ingots like these, which had a silver content above 50 per cent, were used as currency in Viking times. The brooch would have been used as a fastening for a cloak.

The inquest heard that during these turbulent times, the items would have been buried for safe keeping, with the intention of recovering them when the

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danger had passed. For reasons lost in the mists of time, however, they were never retrieved.

Subsequent ploughing of the field had led to the items being separated.

Ms Fox said there were no records of any archaeological sites in the vicinity, the closest being Mesolithic flints and a Bronze Age burial mound, which pre-dated this discovery by 6,000 years and 3,000 years respectively.

Coroner John Needham said that as the items were apparently hidden for safety but never retrieved then they should be declared Treasure Trove, with ownership residing with the Lord of Mann. The ingot found at Ballaseyr Farm in 2009 had also previously been declared Treasure Trove.

He said that it is clear the items are of significance from an archaeological point of view and give an insight into the lives of the people who inhabited this island 1,000 years ago.

Ms Fox said trustees of Manx National Heritage would now decide whether they wished to acquire the artefacts for the national collection. The items will be independently valued and the finder rewarded the market value.

Farmer Leslie Faragher said in a statement he had given permission to John Crowe and his nephew Seth to do metal detecting in the clay dubh field, with proceeds from any finds split following a Treasure Trove inquest.

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