Hoard to return to Galloway in the autumn

Late on a September day in 2014 metal detectorist Derek McLennan was working near Loch Ken when he uncovered the first layers of something astounding.

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 1:52 pm
Four annular silver ‘ribbon bracelet’ arm-rings held together at the terminals by a silver Hiberno-Norse broad-band which has been looped around to hold them all in place, from the Viking age Galloway Hoard
Four annular silver ‘ribbon bracelet’ arm-rings held together at the terminals by a silver Hiberno-Norse broad-band which has been looped around to hold them all in place, from the Viking age Galloway Hoard

As a local archaeologist began to release more of the items from the earth it was clear that it was a stunning and unique collection of Viking and early Christian gold and silver.

However, the real extent of the treasure, which was buried at the beginning of the 10th century, was not revealed until an x-ray showed the content of the Carolingian pot and beautiful beads and brooches appeared on screen.

National Museums Scotland (NMS) described it as "the richest collection of rare and unique Viking-age objects ever found in Britain or Ireland".

The Galloway Hoard was taken on by NMS in 2017 and its experts have been painstakingly cleaning and conserving much of it over the past two years.

Many of the 100+ items are now ready to be presented to the public in a specially designed exhibition.

The Scottish Government put funding in place towards a touring exhibition, and following display at the NMS, the hoard will return to Galloway to be shown in Kirkcudbright Galleries from October 2021 until July 2022.

Andy Ferguson, chair of the Communities Committee at Dumfries and Galloway Council, said: “I was lucky enough to have seen the Galloway Hoard soon after its discovery and I know first-hand how beautiful it is.

"I am very excited that in working in partnership with NMS, our council is able to bring the hoard to the people of Dumfries and Galloway in what will be an inspiring, free exhibition for all ages.”

Committee vice-chairman John Martin added: “This exhibition will be one of the key projects in the economic recovery of our region in 2021.

“The council intends to use it as one of the focal points to support the region, encouraging engagement from locals and visitors and giving a much needed boast to hard-hit local businesses.”

In December the Arts and Humanities Research Council awarded nearly £800,000 towards a £1m three-year reasearch project.

This will enable NMS and the University of Glasgow to carry out detailed examination and precise dating of the items.