New insight into Galloway Hoard to be revealed in Aberdeen exhibition

Aberdeen Art Gallery will feature images of newly revealed gold filigree objects from the Galloway Hoard.

People will be able to gain a new insight into one of the country’s most important archaeological finds when newly revealed images of the Galloway Hoard go on display.

Aberdeen Art Gallery will feature the images of gold filigree objects from the Hoard, which were bound together with rare silk braids, from July 30 to October 23.

The objects were wrapped in a textile bundle too fragile to display and are currently being investigated in Edinburgh as part of ongoing research into the Hoard.

The exhibition, Galloway Hoard: Viking-age Treasure, offers the first chance to see details hidden for over 1,000 years, revealed by expert conservation, painstaking cleaning and cutting-edge research.

Chris Breward, director of National Museums Scotland, said: “The exhibition is a fabulous opportunity to see the Hoard far more clearly than before and to gain an insight into the amazingly detailed work that we have done and are continuing to do in order that we can understand it more fully.”

Researchers from the University of Glasgow have identified up to 12 different textiles in the Hoard.

These recent research findings are the subject of a new interactive display created for the Aberdeen leg of the tour.

The Galloway Hoard is the richest collection of rare and unique Viking-age objects ever found in Britain or Ireland.

Buried around 900, the Hoard brings together a number of objects and materials in one discovery.

The gold filigree objects are often referred to as “aestels”, instruments which were previously thought to hold a piece of bone or wood and be used as a pointer to follow text when reading.

This is the first time that a group of these gold objects have been found together and the associated textiles provide new clues to what they were used for.

The presence of braided silk within the sockets on the gold objects shows that they were all connected and this new evidence casts doubt on the previous categorisation. Further research will be carried out on their true purpose and usage.

Angus Robertson, the Culture Secretary, said: “The Galloway Hoard is one of the most important collections of artefacts ever discovered in Scotland.

“National Museums Scotland’s exhibition tour of the Hoard is providing a unique opportunity for audiences in Scotland and visitors to view its many treasures.”

And Councillor Martin Greig, Aberdeen City Council culture spokesman, said it gave people “a welcome opportunity to appreciate this fascinating treasure”.

“The display allows us to enjoy the intricate craftsmanship and to consider the historical significance of these intriguing items,” he said.

“They belong to everyone so I hope that as many people as possible will visit this important example of our shared heritage.

“It is especially fortunate that the Book of Deer can also be seen locally just now. Together, these artefacts raise many questions about Scotland’s culture and identity right at the start of the Middle Ages.

“It’s important to have objects such as these on display in Aberdeen because inspecting and interpreting these kind of artefacts helps us to understand how modern Scotland came to be.”

The Galloway Hoard will eventually go on long-term display at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh with a significant and representative portion of it also displayed long-term at Kirkcudbright Galleries.

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