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Furness Hoard

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A hoard dating to the 9th or 10th century AD consisting two fragments of silver that are diagnostically of Viking manufacture and/or show typically Viking secondary treatment in the form of hacking into pieces for use as bullion, or test marks to establish the quality of the silver.

The objects are described in their uncleaned condition, in accordance with the terms of the Treasure Act 1996.

Terminal of Ingot: irregular bar-shaped of flattened ovoid section rounded and tapering at the terminal and cut across the other with small pits on the sides; hacksilver, length is 24mm, width 11mm, thickness 10mm and the weight 14.79g.

Fragment of silver probably from the terminal of a broad-band arm-ring with a sub-rectangular section; length is 15mm, the width is12mm thickness 9mm and the weight 10.64g. The fragment curves in profile at the terminus and is decorated with a raised ridge in two segments with possibly seven punch decorated triple-pelleted, triangular stamps arranged in roughly three rows, grading to two, then one towards the ends. The edges have been cut on three side and the reverse is flat and with four incised lines that are probably testing nicks. An example of the type was found in the Silverdale Hoard catalogue number 1 LANCUM-65C1B4 - and in the Cuerdale Hoard found near Preston and deposited c. 905-10 (E. Hawkins, 1847, "An account of coins and treasure found in Cuerdale", Archaeological Journal, 4, pp. 110-130, fig. 21).

Broad-band arm-rings were developed in Ireland from Danish prototypes in the later 9th century and continued in general circulation until around AD 930/40 (J. Sheehan, 2004, 'Social and economic integration in Viking-Age Ireland: the evidence of the hoards', pp. 177-188 in J. Hines, A. Lane and M. Redknap (eds.), Land, Sea and Home. Proceedings of a conference on Viking-period settlement at Cardiff, July 2001, Leeds). They appear to have been produced to a postulated weight unit of 26.15 grammes and the find from the Silverdale Hoard squares closely with this figure at almost exactly six times the base unit (x 5.94). Such arm-rings could thus have been used for the storage and circulation of silver in a bullion economy, although they could also have been worn as symbols of status. A number of comparable Viking hoards have been recorded from tenth-century England, although typically they date from the first three decades of the century, around or before the unification of England under Athelstan in AD 927 (G. Williams, 'Viking Hoards of the Northern Danelaw from Cuerdale to the Vale of York', in J. Graham-Campbell & R. Philpott (eds) 2009, The Huxley Viking Hoard. Scandinavian Settlement in the North West, Liverpool Museum, Liverpool, 73-83).

Both the likely date of deposition and the precious metal contents where these can be ascertained fit clearly with the criteria of the Treasure Act (1996). It is therefore our recommendation that the hoard should be considered as Treasure under the terms of the Act.

Information from Portable Antiquities Scheme Record: LANCUM-26ECE2



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