Roman silver hoard discovered in Aberdeenshire

10 December 2014
imports_CESC_image001-00288_77992.jpg Roman silver hoard discovered in Aberdeenshire
Archaeologists from National Museums Scotland and the University of Aberdeen’s Northern Picts Project have unearthed a hoard of Late Roman and Pictish silver buried in a field in Aberdeenshire. ...
Roman silver hoard discovered in Aberdeenshire Images
Archaeologists from National Museums Scotland and the University of Aberdeen’s Northern Picts Project have unearthed a hoard of Late Roman and Pictish silver buried in a field in Aberdeenshire.

The exciting find contains over 100 pieces of hacked-up silver, coins and jewellery. This important discovery is the most northern Late Roman hacksilver hoard to be found in Europe.

Experts at National Museums Scotland will now embark on a programme of research involving detailed analysis, description and cataloguing of the hoard. The work will be made possible through The Glenmorangie Research Project. The Glenmorangie Company has recently announced a further three-year sponsorship of National Museums Scotland to support the study and understanding of early medieval Scotland (300-900AD).

The Glenmorangie Research Project will enable further investigation into the importance of silver, from the very earliest appearance in Scotland during Roman times, to its use in decorating later high status silver objects. This new find is a significant addition to the story of early Scottish silver.

The breadth of National Museums Scotland’s collections, with the support of The Glenmorangie Company, puts National Museums in a unique position to explore how silver, as a new and exotic material, quickly became the most prestigious material for displaying power in Early Medieval Scotland.

The Project will also fund a new post, The Glenmorangie Research Fellow. National Museums Scotland has appointed Alice Blackwell (pictured) as the research fellow. Alice, who holds a masters degree in archaeology from the University of Glasgow, will lead the research project, focusing on the magnificent silver of the Late Roman and Early Medieval period.


Dr Martin Goldberg, Senior Curator, Early Historic collections, National Museums Scotland, said: 'We are delighted that The Glenmorangie Company’s continued support will enable us to thoroughly research this exciting new find of Late Roman and Pictish silver, discovered through our work with the University of Aberdeen. It is a hugely important discovery being Europe’s most northerly late Roman hacksilver hoard, and also containing otherwise unique Pictish silver.

'The research project will enable us to shed new light on the interaction between the Picts and the Late Roman world and reconsider what some older finds in our collection can tell us about Early Medieval Scotland.'


Dr Gordon Noble, Senior Lecturer, Department of Archaeology, University of Aberdeen who led the fieldwork as part of the University’s Northern Picts project said: 'This exciting new find is part of a broader phenomenon of hacksilver hoards which stretch across Europe from the 4th to 6th centuries AD, when the Western Roman Empire was in decline. Silver objects were chopped up into bullion and then used and exchanged as payment, bribes, tribute and reward. People buried their wealth to keep it safe, but many did not return to recover their hoard.

'The new finds include Late Roman coins, pieces of Late Roman silver vessels, bracelet and brooch fragments and other objects that would have been highly prized objects in their day. Our work in north-east Scotland is increasingly showing that Pictish communities in this area were part of powerful kingdoms in the early medieval period.

'Elements of the hoard will be on display for the first time at King’s Museum, University of Aberdeen from 20 January to 31 May 2015.'

(Images copyright National Museums Scotland)

Content continues after advertisements