Vikings were not pirates, and so they didn’t bury their treasure, usually…
The items discovered on the Isle of Man late last year were undoubtedly Viking and were found carefully buried, not in a burial mound, but on their own. They include a giant silver fastening brooch, an unusual armband made of gold, and three pieces of at least one silver armband.
The brooch is an oversized functional piece used to secure a cloak. Similar fibular designs were popular throughout ancient Rome and survived as functional wardrobe pieces well past the Viking Era.
The gold armband is strange because it is gold. Historically, the Vikings wrought their jewelry in silver, so the gold find is unique. The chain-links of the bracelet connect to a decorated centerpiece that appears to have been stamped with a triangle stamp containing three dots, to form a repeating pattern.
The three pieces of armband appear to have been stamped with a crosshatch design, either from a single rectangular stamp or from a roller. There is a smooth space in-between each band of crosshatching so that the armband would appear striped at a distance. The crosshatching details are only visible upon closer inspection.
The items were located on the Isle of Man in a northerly farm, shallow enough to be detected by a lucky amateur metal detector hobbyist, Kath Giles. Giles is a retired police detective and said, “I knew straight away that it was a significant and exciting find. I’m so thrilled to have found artifacts that are not only so important but so beautiful.” She found the treasure in November 2020 and promptly reported her discovery to the local authorities.
The treasure is out there. It’s waiting to be found, if only we take the time to look for it.
See you next time on Pendant and Ring.