Find sheds light on Christianised Vikings

One of the biggest Viking treasures ever found has been discovered in an English farm, which the British Museum says will shed light on early beliefs of the newly Christianised Vikings.

"It's a fascinating find, it's the largest find of its type of over 150 years," said Gareth Williams, an expert at the British Museum who examined the items, the International Herald Tribune reports.

Some of the items mixed Christian and pagan imagery, shedding light on the beliefs of newly Christianised Vikings, he said.

David Whelan, 60, and his 35-year-old son Andrew were trawling through a farmer's field near Harrogate, in northern England, on 6 January when their metal detector squealed. The pair began digging, finding a silver bowl more than a foot beneath the soil. Under British law, such finds must be reported to authorities.

"We thought it was marvellous," David Whelan told The Associated Press. "But we didn't know for nearly a month what was in it."

The items were manufactured as far afield as Afghanistan, Russia and Scandinavia.

In some places, the raids grew into full-fledged invasions, and Viking kingdoms were established in Britain, Ireland, and Normandy, France, among other places.

The museum said it hoped to buy at least some of the hoard from the Whelan family once its value was determined.

"If we hadn't found it we would've still been going," he said. "We just keep going, we enjoy it."

One of the largest Viking treasure hoards found in northern England (International Herald Tribune, 19/7/07)

Babylon clay tablet confirms Jeremiah (CathNews, 12/7/07)
No sign of Red Sea parting, archaeologist finds (CathNews, 5/4/07)
St Paul's tomb unearthed (CathNews, 7/12/06)
Tomb raiders hit jackpot with archbishop's teeth (CathNews 11/10/06)
Irish equivalent of Dead Sea Scrolls unearthed (CathNews, 27/6/06)
Israeli archaeologists uncover 'oldest church' (CathNews, 9/11/05)
Archeologists discover St Paul's tomb (CathNews, 18/2/05)

20 Jul 2007