Yorkshire Museum

Beyond Jorvik: The Vale of York Hoard and the Viking World

The Vale of York Viking Hoard is one of the most important Viking discoveries ever made in Britain. Our new spotlight display shows the fantastic objects within the Capital of the North exhibition.

The Hoard tells fascinating stories about life across the Viking world. These displays unravel those intricate tales of travel, wealth and power.

Discovery

The Vale of York Hoard was discovered in North Yorkshire in January 2007 by two metal-detectorists, David and Andrew Whelan, who kept the find intact and promptly reported it to their local Finds Liaison Officer. It was declared Treasure in 2009 and was valued at £1,082,000 by the independent Treasure Valuation Committee. The size and quality of the material in the hoard is remarkable, making it the most important find of its type in Britain for over 150 years.

Read a fascinating blog post about the new displays by our Curator of Numismatics, Andrew Woods: Beyond Jorvik blog post

Book for a special Curator’s Talk on the hoard. 4 August 2015

Beautiful objects

The hoard contains a mixture of different precious metal objects, including coins, complete ornaments, ingots (bars) and chopped-up fragments known as hack-silver (67 objects in total and 617 coins). It shows the diversity of cultural contacts in the medieval world, with objects coming from as far apart as Afghanistan in the East and Ireland in the West, as well as Russia, Scandinavia and continental Europe.

The most spectacular single object is a gilt silver vessel, made in what is now France or western Germany around the middle of the ninth century. It was apparently intended for use in church services, and was probably either looted from a monastery by Vikings, or given to them in tribute. Most of the smaller objects were hidden inside this vessel, which was itself protected by some form of lead container. As a result, the hoard was extremely well-preserved. Other star objects include a rare gold arm-ring, and 617 coins, including several new or rare types. These provide valuable new information about the history of England in the early tenth century, as well as Yorkshire’s wider cultural contacts in the period. Interestingly, the hoard contains coins relating to Islam and to the pre-Christian religion of the Vikings, as well as to Christianity.

List of funders

The Art Fund
Aviva
British Museum
Council for British Archaeology – Yorkshire
David Rymer Charitable Trust
Friends of the British Museum
Friends of Harrogate District Museums
George A Moore Foundation
The National Heritage Memorial Fund
Noel G Terry Charitable Trust
Patricia and Donald Shepherd Trust
R M Burton Charitable Trust
Rotary Club of York Vikings
Sonora
The Headley Trust
University of York
York Civic Trust
York Common Good Trust
York Glaziers Trust
Yorkshire Architectural and York Archaeological Society
And numerous individual contributions.