A major exhibition produced by National Museums Scotland will tour the country during 2018, with the support of the museum's research partner The Glenmorangie Company. Read a full curator review of the exhibition in Jan/Feb History Scotland.
The Glenmorangie Research Partnership was launched in 2008 and over three successive phases has revealed many new insights into the Early People of Scotland. The next phase of research will focus on the formation of the medieval kingdom of Scotland.
The Scotland’s Early Silver exhibition, currently on display at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, includes fascinating objects and shows for the first time how silver, not gold, became the most important precious metal in Scotland over the course of the first millennium AD. Thanks to the support of The Glenmorangie Company, the exhibition will now tour to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, Banff in Aberdeenshire and Kirkcudbright in Dumfries and Galloway.
New research focus
The new phase of the partnership will see the research focus move on from the first millennium AD to examine the archaeological evidence from the 9th to 12th centuries which underpins the formation of the nation state of Scotland. This will enable researchers to explore objects and evidence of the period, bringing new knowledge and research techniques to bear on a critical period in Scottish history.
The work will address important questions about how the kingdom of Scotland was created and its connections with the Anglo-Saxon world, Ireland and Scandinavia. The results of the research will be published in a new book and widely disseminated elsewhere.
The announcement coincides with the appointment of a new holder of the post of Glenmorangie Research Fellow, working within the Museum’s Department of Scottish History and Archaeology. Dr Adrián Maldonado is a graduate in medieval history from Harvard University, with a PhD in medieval archaeology from the University of Glasgow.
Scotland's Early Silver exhibition tour
Dr Gordon Rintoul, Director of National Museums Scotland, said: “We are very pleased to continue our innovative, successful and productive partnership with Glenmorangie. We look forward to another significant phase of archaeological research, discovery and public engagement, starting with the tour of Scotland’s Early Silver. The current exhibition and accompanying book are products of the scholarship already supported by The Glenmorangie Research Project.”
The exhibition, Scotland’s Early Silver, includes the recently unveiled Dairsie Hoard, which dates to the late 3rd century AD and is the earliest known example of hacksilver from anywhere beyond the Roman frontier.
Also on its first full public display is the Gaulcross hoard, discovered in Aberdeenshire in 2013. Since its excavation, research has revealed striking similarities with another find, from Norrie’s Law, in Fife. Both hoards have been re-dated to the 5th–6th centuries AD, several centuries earlier than previously thought, and show for the first time how earlier Roman silver was recycled and repurposed over the centuries.
By the early medieval period, silver was being made into new power symbols, including massive silver neck chains. These striking objects are unique to Scotland and show both the importance of silver and the amount that was available in parts of Scotland – the heaviest is made from almost 3kg of silver.
Scotland’s Early Silver Tour Dates
National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh, until 25 February 2018
Museum nan Eilean, Lews Castle (Stornoway), 3 May – 23 June 2018
Kirkcudbright Galleries, 7 July - 30 September 2018
Duff House, Banff, 12 October 2018 – 17 March 2019
For more information visit the exhibition website.
(images copyright National Museums Scotland)