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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

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Discovery of Viking hoard sparks range of questions

THE discovery of a Viking hoard in a Furness field last year has thrown up as many questions as answers, according to a local expert.

Dot Boughton, the north-west’s finds liaison officer, was the first expert to study the historic collection found at Stainton last year.

She said the remarkable collection of silver coins, ingots and a bracelet dating back to 955AD was one of the most extraordinary finds she had worked on.

Mrs Boughton was at the Dock Museum in Barrow on Thursday to speak to a group of fascinated locals about the significance of the hoard, which was discovered by a metal detectorist.

She said that of the 4,000-odd artifacts she had recorded in her career, there were only a handful of comparable significance.

“We know the Vikings were here (in the north-west) and they settled here but they just didn’t leave very much in terms of evidence, so every little scrap is important,” she said.

“So when a hoard like this turns up it answers a lot of questions, but raises a lot more.”

One of the burning questions that will never be answered is why the treasure’s owner left it under that particular rock and never returned.

“Maybe he was killed, or had an accident, or got imprisoned, or told somebody where his treasures were and they couldn’t find them,” Mrs Boughton said.

“You can speculate and speculate, but anything could have happened. It’s quite a lot of money so you would definitely try your best to go back and get it. It’s more than the average person back then would have in their purse.”

The other big question is whether there are more Viking artefacts like the hoard buried in Furness.

“I think everybody wants to know if there is more and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was,” Mrs Boughton said.

l The Evening Mail and Dock Museum have teamed up to launch a “Treasure Quest” campaign, which aims to raise the £30,500 needed to purchase the hoard so it can be exhibited in Barrow permanently.

Donations can be made at the Dock Museum or by contacting the Evening Mail on 01229 840 147.

On Sunday, the Viking Rig will be in the Dock Museum to entertain onlookers with his tales of Viking conquest between 11am and 4pm.

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