A collection from one of the most significant Viking hoards ever discovered in this country has gone on display at the JORVIK Viking Centre. The Watlington Hoard, which includes rare coins and hack silver, will remain on display until 21 May 2018.
In total, the display features 55 items from the Watlington Hoard, including jewellery, hack silver – bars of precious metal from which chunks would be cut to provide payment for goods – and a host of coins from the reigns of Alfred the Great, king of Wessex (871-99) and Ceolwulf II of Mercia (874 – 879).
The Watlington Hoard is believed to have been hidden by a member of the Great Viking Army in around AD879 during their manoeuvres through Oxfordshire. Discovered by metal detectorist James Mather in 2015, the hoard was purchased by the Ashmolean Museum for £1.35 million with the help of a substantial National Lottery grant.
“As part of the reimagining of the galleries of JORVIK Viking Centre, we were able to make significant improvements to security and conservation conditions, which means that we are now able to host some of the most exciting finds from elsewhere in the country, alongside the items in our own collection which were discovered right here in Coppergate,” explains director of attractions, Sarah Maltby. “The Watlington Hoard joins items from the British Museum’s collections to show our visitors unrivalled displays of Viking domestic artefacts, weaponry and treasures – a real coup for the home of the Vikings.”
The hoard contains a mixture of Anglo-Saxon coins and Viking silver, and has provided archaeologists and historians with a clearer understanding of the relationships between Alfred the Great of Wessex and Ceolwulf II. It also provides evidence for how the invasion of the Great Viking Army helped galvanise a unified English kingdom for the first time, as those attending a Curator Talk & Tour by Gareth Williams of the British Museum and one of the UK’s foremost experts on Anglo-Saxon and Viking coins on the evening of Thursday 15 February will discover. The evening visit includes an exclusive after-hours tour followed by a presentation by Gareth Williams.
The hoard was purchased with the lead support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, which awarded a National Lottery grant of £1.1 million to the Ashmolean Museum for the project Acquisition of the Watlington Viking Hoard in September 2016. The funding also supports outreach and educational projects, of which the loan to JORVIK Viking Centre is part.
For more information, or to prebook a visit to see the Watlington Viking Hoard at JORVIK Viking Centre, please visit www.jorvikvikingcentre.co.uk. Visitors to the JORVIK Viking Festival, which runs from 12 – 18 February 2018 will be amongst the first to see the hoard. More on the festival can be found at www.jorvikvikingfestival.co.uk.
Notes to editors:
The Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, raised the £1.35 million required to purchase the hoard of King Alfred the Great discovered in Watlington, Oxfordshire, in 2015. More than 700 members of the public contributed to the appeal. Lead support was provided by the National Lottery through a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant of £1.1 million to acquire the hoard and fund a range of educational and outreach activities. With a further £150,000 from Art Fund and contributions from private individuals and the Friends and Patrons of the Ashmolean, the Museum reached its fundraising target within days of the deadline. When the hoard returns to Ashmolean, it will be displayed in the England Gallery with other important Anglo-Saxon finds including the world-famous Alfred Jewel.
www.ashmolean.org | @AshmoleanMuseum
About the Heritage Lottery Fund
HLF awarded £1.1 million to the Ashmolean Museum for the project Acquisition of the Watlington Viking Hoard in September 2016.
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