15/10/2018
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Silver, not gold, was the most important precious metal in Scotland, Scotland's Early Silver exhibition reveals

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A new exhibition showing how silver, not gold, became the most important precious metal in Scotland over the course of the first millennium AD is heading to Duff House.

Featuring spectacular objects dating from AD75 to AD1000, and supported by The Glenmorangie Research Project on Early Medieval Scotland, Scotland’s Early Silver explores the part that silver played in the transformation of society in Scotland throughout the first millennium AD.

This touring exhibition includes the Gaulcross hoard on its first full public display. The hoard was excavated in Aberdeenshire in 2013 and 2014 as archaeologists from National Museums Scotland and The University of Aberdeen researched and revisited the site of an earlier find from 1838 and unearthed 80 new pieces of silver. The Gaulcross hoard dates from the 5th century AD, and has cast new light on how early Roman silver was recycled and repurposed over the centuries.

The exhibition also includes the recently discovered hoard from Dairsie in Fife, which dates to the late 3rd century AD and is the earliest known example of hacksilver from anywhere beyond the Roman frontier.

Scotland's Early Silver

New research and recent archaeological discoveries chart the first thousand years of silver in Scotland. The exhibition showcases Scotland’s earliest silver, arriving with the Roman army, and highlights the lasting impact this new material had on early medieval Scotland, when Roman silver objects were hacked up, melted down and recycled to make iconic early Medieval treasures like massive silver chains and ornate brooches.

The exhibition also reflects recent scholarship undertaken to place Scotland’s early silver in a European context through a research network project supported by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council.

The Gaulcross Hoard

Corinna Leenen, Duff House Collections Manager at Historic Environment Scotland (HES), said: “We’re very pleased to be able to bring this fantastic National Museums Scotland touring exhibition to Duff House. We’re particularly excited to be exhibiting the Gaulcross hoard, which was discovered not too far from Duff House and sheds some light on what life was like in the north-east of Scotland over one thousand years ago.”

Scotland's Early silver exhibition details

Scotland’s Early Silver is now on display at Duff House until Sunday 17th March 2019. Entry to view the exhibition is included in the Duff House admission price, and is free for members. Scotland’s Early Silver is a National Museums Scotland touring exhibition.

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(image copyright National Museums Scotland)

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