Archaeology news: Isle of Man treasure hoard solves 1,100-year-old Viking mystery | Science | News


The highly decorated oval brooches, dating from around AD 900 – 950, are fairly common in Viking Age Scandinavia and were worn by females. But the lack of brooches found in the Isle of Man before now meant that previous theories suggested that only men from Scandinavia ever settled on the Island in the early Viking Age.

Allison Fox, Curator for Archaeology at Manx National Heritage (MNH), said: “The Isle of Man has a rich Viking heritage but this type of brooch, worn by Scandinavian women in the Viking Age and usually found in graves, has been missing so far.

“We have a number of graves from the early 900s that contain the remains of wealthy males with characteristically ‘Viking’ grave goods accompanying them. We do have one very notable wealthy female burial, and she was accompanied by a fabulous glass bead necklace, but her grave goods were not as typically Scandinavian as these brooches are.

“This evidence has led us to assume that the first Viking settlers to the Isle of Man were male. John and Craig’s find indicates that we need to reassess these assumptions, and instead consider that those Viking longships landing on the Isle of Man over a thousand years ago brought a new, mixed community.”

The brooches were first discovered back in December 2018 by metal detectorists John Crowe and Craig Evans, but the spectacular design of these brooches has now been fully revealed following a specialist conservation process.

They are made from bronze with silver wire decoration.

Oval brooches were common in Viking Age Scandinavia and are seen as national dress, which shows that the wearer was most likely to come from Scandinavia.

Mr Evans, one of the men who found the piece, said: “John and I knew straight away that our discovery was very special, and it’s great to see the brooches cleaned and conserved.”

It is believed that Vikings arrived on the Isle of Man in the 800s, first to trade but eventually they began to settle there.

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There is still a strong Viking influence across the landscape, with castles, burial mounds and settlements that can all still be seen to this day.

And the two newly conserved brooches are now on display in the Viking Gallery at the Manx Museum, Douglas.

It joins a host of many other spectacular artefacts from the Viking Age on the Isle of Man.





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