Lot 1068: Viking 'Early Christian' Hoard Group
December 7, 2016
Harwich, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: 5th-7th century AD. A mixed group of silver items from a hoard, comprising: a twisted silver bracelet with looped ends, punched triangles and pellets to both faces; two faceted 'hack-silver' ingots; a pectoral cross formed as a square plaque, with a saltire to each corner, four trapezoidal arms each with an incised cross, ring of pellet punchmarks to the centre; suspended by a loop from a silver trichinopoly chain with D-section beast-head finials. See Graham-Campbell, J. & Philpott, R. The Huxley Viking Hoard: Scandinavian Settlement in the North West, Liverpool, 2009. 422 grams total, chain: 72cm (28 1/4"). From an old Munich collection; acquired on the German art market before 2000. The substantial nature of the pieces indicate that they may have been made in the post-Roman period from re-cycled prestige silver items such as Roman tableware. The Vikings had been raiding the English coast since the first record of an attack at the island monastery of Lindisfarne in 875 AD. After this there were a number of raids into Britain that targeted religious centres, as well as the homes of wealthy nobles. Many of the Anglo-Saxon aristocracy would have been familiar with Roman remains dotting the landscape, and could even have re-used Roman silver tableware from these ancient sites for their banquets in an attempt to copy the wealthy superpower of Byzantium to the East. A number of hoards have been found in both Britain and the Continent which generally contain jewellery, ingots and coins, hacked-up as well as whole. The metal in these finds is generally silver, being buried in times of unrest, and represent considerable fortunes. These hoards show that silver had become a common means of payment, even in minor transactions, and they provide important evidence for tracing the directions taken by trade and other foreign contacts. 
Condition Report: Fine condition, usage wear.