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Medieval finds uncovered in Scotland’s Treasure Trove Report

Over 239 finds dating back from the Bronze Age to the medieval period were unveiled this week as the annual Treasure Trove Report was presented to the Scottish Parliament. Discoveries include a silver seal matrix from the 12th century, a Roman eagle head and a complete set of trade weights from the 18th century.

Created by the Scottish government’s Queen’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer office, the report covers the period 1 April 2011 – 31 March 2012. It deals with archaeological finds within Scotland where the items were presented for a public evaluation.

According to the Treasure Trove report, 152 artefacts were claimed by the government and gifted to museums, while 87 were returned to finders. Those who had to give their fnds to museums were rewarded with a combined £36,535, with individual pay-outs ranging from £15 to £6,000.

This is the seventh annual Scottish Treasure Trove Report, modeled on a similar one in England and Wales. The process has allowed those who make historical finds to be properly compensated, while allowing British museums to have access to these discoveries.

Catherine Dyer, the Queen’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer, said, “Some outstanding and very significant finds have been reported, preserved and displayed in museum collections around Scotland. Once again I would like to praise the tireless work of the Scottish Archaeological Finds Allocation Panel, the National Museums of Scotland, the Treasure Trove Unit and the QLTR office.”

Some of the finds include:

Medieval silver seal matrix set with Roman intaglio, discovered in Doune, Stirling – dating from around 1200, this seal matrices would have been used to impress wax seals on documents. It bears the owner’s name, Thomas de Lorie, although we have no other information about him.

Roman eagled headed terminal, discovered in Selkirk along the Scottish Borders – A copper alloy mount cast in the shape of an eagle head, the sacred bird of Juno. The eagle is depicted emerging from a flower with a berry held in the beak and was intended as a symbol of good luck or fertility. Mounts of this type were used on the supporting frames of Roman wagons and this is the first such mount from Scotland, with only a small number known from Britain.

Post-medieval trade weight set,  found in Fortrose, Scottish Highlands – A complete trade weight set of the type commonly used by merchants; this example was made in Nuremberg shortly after the Union of 1707.

Medieval figurine and associated finds, discovered in Dunkeld, Perth and Kinross – discovered close to the Cathedral of Dunkeld, this is a copper alloy figure of Christ from a processional or altar cross. The figure is crowned and clothed in a knee length perizoma knotted centrally at the waist. The clothing and appearance of the figure would suggest a mid-12th century date and in stylistic terms the figurine can be paralleled by numerous examples from Scandinavia and Germany. The distortion of the arms suggests the figure has been wrenched from the cross to which it was originally attached. Perhaps this figure was damaged during the the Reformation or was perhaps just discarded church metalwork – several smaller pieces of metal work were also found with it.

Other finds include a medieval spur designed for a child, a 12th century silver penny of William the Lion, a bronze age axe and a 14th century ring that is engraved awith the inscription ‘IHESUN’ in Lombardic script. This is a contraction of ‘Ihesus Nazarenus Rex Ioderum’ (or ‘Jesus of Nazareth, King of the  Jews’), commonly thought to protect the wearer against violent death.

Catherine Dyer adds, “Thanks should also be given to the hundreds of members of the public who have played an important past by reporting their finds and in doing so have assisted in preserving the history of Scotland for all to enjoy.”

Click here to read the Scotland Treasure Trove Report

Click here to read about last year’s Treasure Trove Report

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