16 Apr 2016 Viking coins in Northern Ireland
The two rare Viking coins were discovered with a metal detector by Brian Morton, then a forty-three-year-old full-time carer. Experts say the coins are linked to a Viking raid on a nearby monastery. They are the first coins of their kind found in Northern Ireland.
Morton found the rare coins after a decade of searching for treasure with a metal detector. He discovered the treasure in County Down (one of the six counties of Northern Ireland belonging to the former Irish province of Ulster). Experts believe the coins came here during a Viking raid on the monastery at Maghera. They were sent to the British Museum for independent valuation.
The coins circulated mainly on the Isle of Man in the 11th century and are 93 per cent silver. They were about ten centimetres from the surface drilled into the mud, and were 1.5 metres apart. They could have fallen out of a Viking warrior's pocket without him noticing. Raids on monasteries and churches were quite frequent, so they were attractive places for raiders. Think they'll find treasure here.
The Vikings launched an attack on Ireland around 800 AD, where they stayed until 1169, when the Norman invasion took place. The discovery of the coins may reflect a more peaceful trade or strategic connection between the Isle of Man and south-east Ulster.
"It's quite likely that someone simply lost the coins unknowingly. This theory is suggested by the fact that the coins were far apart. Moreover, when someone hides treasure, it is overwhelmingly a pile of coins, not just two," believes Robert Heslip, former curator at the Ulster Museum.
Morton realised almost immediately that he had found rare coins. So he handed them over to the Ulster Museum. Local coroner Suzanne Anderson congratulated the finder. "I am happy to have seen such a treasure. Congratulations to Mr Morton and thank you for giving the coins to the museum," said Anderson.
"It was clear to me that these were not just any ordinary coins. But I didn't find out until later that they were extremely rare. I was excited to say the least. When he got permission to search the place in question, I didn't go there thinking I was going to look for something specific. It was just a common place to go out. I was just looking for a little bit of history and it came out great," Morton went on to say.
Source: ww.dailymail.co.uk, https://www.itv.com/
The article is included in categories: