Traders From the North- New permanent exhibit coming this February
A local discovery of Viking treasure that tells a story of our ancient past currently on display at the Beacon Museum
In 2014 two local enthusiasts unearthed a Viking hoard of 20 silver artefacts in Beckermet. Justin Bell is one of the two discoverers of the hoard found in that field. He describes the hoard as ‘the find of a lifetime’, and he went on to say: “Since the find, Garrett, who makes the detectors, bought us one of their top machines to go over the land again to make sure we hadn’t missed anything. We’ve done a lot of land around that area and not found anything significant, but the amount of groats and old four pence’s we’ve come across is fascinating.” Altogether they found 16 trading ingots that were used like modern day coinage, and also four rings. All were verified as being of Norse origin, and evidence suggests that these pieces could have been brought to Cumbria from as far away as Russia.
Legislation dictates that ancient discoveries older than 300 years old must be verified, and so the British Museum took the pieces to better understand their origin. The hoard was since been deemed to have ‘treasure’ status and was returned to West Cumbria where the Beacon Museum were eager to bring the collection back to the area. Justin said: “The British Museum finds out exactly what the artefacts and coins are, where they come from and if there are any rare ones.”
Justin and Daniel will officially launch the Viking Hoard exhibit at the Beacon Museum on the 25th of February. Justin added: “A lot of people don’t realise just what happened in Cumbria. It’s the second Viking Hoard that has been found in here and it’s about piecing together the bits of history. I want people to know about it and the fact the Beacon has bought the hoard means that my children and grandchildren can go down there in years to come and say ‘Dad and Granddad found that’, and to me that is worth so much more than any money.”
Elizabeth Kwasnik, Beacon Museum director, said: “We are delighted to have the Norse hoard back as a key part of Copeland’s historic collection here in the Beacon Museum. The artefacts invoke many stories of a time in Cumbria’s ancient past that is often overlooked, and we are giving our community a focal point to understand a bit more about those Scandinavian people who settled in this area and became part of our ancestry.”