Image: Wikimedia Commons
The Bedale Hoard is a hoard consisting of forty-eight silver and gold items dating from the late 9th to early10th century AD.
The hoard includes necklaces, arm-bands, a sword pommel, hacksilver and ingots. It was discovered by metal detectorists on 22 May 2012 in a field near Bedale, North Yorkshire.
The Bedale hoard is now in the Yorkshire Museum.
The hoard contains items from across the Viking world, including neck rings from Britain and Russia, a Hiberno-Norse arm-ring that was made in Ireland, silver ingots and an Anglo-Saxon sword pommel, with gold plaques decorated with patterns that are reminiscent of the Trewhiddle Style.
Speaking of this sword pommel, Natalie McCaul, Curator of Archaeology at the Yorkshire Museum said, “This is the first time we have seen the Trewhiddle Style use on gold – and it is also unusual to find it this far north, which raises questions about how people and ideas were moving around the country.”
“Interestingly, the decorations seem to be a mixture of true Trewhiddle, and more typically Northern styles, as if a local craftsman has taken the idea and made it his own.”
The silver neck-ring is the largest known example of its kind, weighing more than 0.5 kg. It has a typically Scandinavian design, but McCaul says that the way it was put together “suggests a Yorkshire variant on a Viking idea.”
The neck-ring would not have been very comfortable to wear, which might suggest that it was only use on special, or ceremonial occasions. I would certainly have been extremely impressive when worn.
Interestingly enough, three of the 29 silver ingots in the hoard have crosses on them.
There are parallels with the Cuerdale Hoard, where the ingots had been cast using a mould marked with crosses, although the examples from Bedale are cruder as the crosses are simply scratched on the ingots.
Another interesting fact about the Bedale ingots is that they were tightly and neatly packed together in four rows and placed at the bottom of the hoard. This suggests that they were wrapped or boxed in some way.