Dozens of medieval finds reported in Scotland’s treasure trove

The government of Scotland has issued its annual Treasure Trove Report today, which lists the archaeological discoveries made between April 2009 and March 2010. The report notes the finds of dozens of items dating back to the Middle Ages and earlier.

Among the highlights of the report are:

Pictish carved stone from Strath of Kildonan, Highland. Although missing the top right hand side this stone retains the hindquarters of a stag above the Pictish ‘crescent and v-rod’ symbol. The findspot of this stone is of some significance, being only one of two Pictish symbol stones in Sutherland situated inland rather than on the coast. In both its distribution and stylistic attributes this stone fills a lacuna between the carved stones of the Northern Isles and those of the Moray Firth area.

Anglo-Scandinavian sword pommel from Abington, South Lanarkshire. This pommel is made from hollow cast copper alloy in the Anglo-Scandinavian style and dates to the 9th to 10th centuries. The plain nature suggests a utilitarian rather than a high status weapon. Like earlier discoveries of Early Historic objects this find is an interesting example of an object found outside the cultural area which created it.

Medieval finger ring from Isle of Mull, Argyll and Bute. Finger rings with stirrup shaped hoops such as this example became common from c.1200 onwards across western Europe. Similar rings have previously been found both in Mull and in the wider Hebridean area and demonstrate common material culture in areas otherwise separated by distinct political and cultural divides.

Viking lead weight with Insular mount from Gallaberry, Dumfries and Galloway. This weight dates from the 8th – 9th centuries and would originally have comprised part of a set of graduated weights. It has been fitted with a reused gilded mount of Insular design. Parallels can be drawn from a set of Viking trade weights from a burial at Kiloran Bay, Colonsay. It is unclear why mounts were reused in this way but it may have been easy way of marking a set as an individual’s property as well as easily identifying a specific weight.

A Medieval silver cross pendant from Dunstaffanage, Argyll and Bute. A silver cruciform pendant with engraving on both sides; although once an unusual class of medieval jewellery the popularity of metal detecting has meant that an increasing number of these have been recovered throughout the British Isles. It is an interesting appearance of more general European material in an area as culturally and politically distinct as the Lordship of the Isles.

A Medieval seal matrix from Coupar Angus, Perth & Kinross. A copper alloy seal matrix of 13th – 14th century date. The central device depicts a bird holding a branch and a Lombardic inscription reading S’ADE DE SCRAUCI?CLL meaning ‘The seal of Adam of…’ It has not been possible to decipher the place name although it may have been abbreviated due to lack of space. The standard of work is very high and this is a good example of a seal commissioned for an individual rather than purchased ready made. Upon the death of its owner seal matrices were usually destroyed, however the good condition of this example suggests it was lost by the owner.

Catherine Dyer, the Queen’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer, said, “Tribute must also be paid to the hundreds of members of the public who report their finds. By doing so they ensure that the history of our country can both be better understood and vividly illustrated by making the objects they have recovered available for examination and kept safe for all of us to enjoy in museum collections.”

Click here to read the 2009/2010 Treasure Trove in Scotland report

Source: Government of Scotland

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