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The Halton Moor hoard


Height: 9.500 cm (cup)
Diameter: 17.400 cm (neck-ring)
Diameter: 17.400 cm (neck-ring)

Bequeathed by Sir A.W. Franks

M&ME AF.541;M&ME AF.542;M&ME OA3393

Room 2: Collecting the world

    The Halton Moor hoard

    Viking, buried about AD 1025-30
    Halton Moor, Lancashire, England

    Viking hoard with coins from the reign of King Cnut

    The decoration on this fine cup, from a hoard found at Halton Moor in Lancashire, shows four large animals, which include a bull and a running beast. Between them are sprays of foliage; some of the tendrils end with the heads of yet more animals. The style of this decoration is Carolingian and shows that it was made in western Europe in the late eighth or the ninth century and was an import to England.

    The silver neck-ring is the most characteristically Viking piece in the hoard and is of a type found throughout the Scandinavian homelands' of the Vikings. It was made by plaiting silver rods together to form a rigid ring which was fastened using hooks. Such rings were worn by men.

    As well as these outstanding objects, 860 silver coins and two gold stamped pendants were found in the hoard. One of these is now in the Danish National Museum in Copenhagen, the other is shown here; they were clearly inspired by a coin design. It shows a human head in profile and, like a coin, was struck from a die.

    The burial date of a hoard with coins can often be accurately established: when minted, a coin usually carries the name of the current king. All the silver coins found at Halton Moor were minted under King Cnut, Danish ruler of England from 1016 1035. We know that the latest coin was made in the late 1020s and this gives the earliest possible date for burial of the whole hoard.

    D.M. Wilson, Anglo-Saxon ornamental metalwo (London, The British Museum Press, 1964)


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