A spectacular hoard of valuables, thought to be the life savings of a rich Viking, have been painstakingly restored to their gleaming former glory.
The incredibly rare lot – which is thought to date back to the late ninth or early 10th century – was discovered in May 2012 by metal detector enthusiasts near Bedale, in North Yorkshire.
The Bedale Hoard includes a gold sword pommel, a silver neck ring, neck collar and silver arm ring, 29 silver ingots, two other silver neck rings and gold rivets.
Conservation work has been carried out over the past few months to restore the artefacts after the collection was bought by the Yorkshire Museum in May this year.
Natalie McCaul, Curator of Archaeology at York Museums Trust, said: ‘It is only since the hoard has been conserved that we can see its real beauty and the incredible craftsmanship involved in creating some of the artefacts.
Vikings (from Old Norse víkingr) were Germanic Norse seafarers, speaking the Old Norse language, who raided and traded from their Scandinavian homelands across wide areas of northern and central Europe, as well as European Russia, during the late 8th to late 11th centuries. The term is also commonly extended in modern English and other vernaculars to the inhabitants of Viking home communities during what has become known as the Viking Age. This period of Norse military, mercantile and demographic expansion constitutes an important element in the early medieval history of Scandinavia, the British Isles, France, Kievan Rus’ and Sicily.
Facilitated by advanced seafaring skills, and characterised by the longship, Viking activities at times also extended into the Mediterranean littoral, North Africa, the Middle Eastand Central Asia. Following extended phases of (primarily sea- or river-borne) exploration, expansion and settlement, Viking (Norse) communities and polities were established in diverse areas of north-western Europe, European Russia, the North Atlantic islands and as far as the north-eastern coast of North America. This period of expansion witnessed the wider dissemination of Norse culture, while simultaneously introducing strong foreign cultural influences into Scandinavia itself, with profound developmental implications in both directions.
Popular, modern conceptions of the Vikings—the term frequently applied casually to their modern descendants and the inhabitants of modern Scandinavia—often strongly differ from the complex picture that emerges from archaeology and historical sources. A romanticised picture of Vikings as noble savages began to emerge in the 18th century; this developed and became widely propagated during the 19th-century Viking revival. Received views of the Vikings as alternatively violent, piratical heathens or as intrepid adventurers owe much to conflicting varieties of the modern Viking myth that had taken shape by the early 20th century. Current popular representations of the Vikings are typically based on cultural clichés and stereotypes, complicating modern appreciation of the Viking legacy.