An Anglo-Saxon Cross Was Found After 1000 Years, Cleaning Operations Revealed Curious Decorations

The ancient Anglo-Saxon cross, which remained underground for over a millennium, has been revealed with its intricate decoration and it is a rare example of intricate metalworking from the Viking Age. The discovery, which took place in Scotland, is actually just the tip of the iceberg a treasure of more than 100 gold and silver objects has been found and it is one of the largest finds ever. objects from the Viking Age in the United Kingdom.


image credit: National Museum Scotland

Buried at the start of the 10th century in Dumfries and Galloway, the Galloway Hoard remained in hiding for 1000 years before being unearthed by a metal detector in September 2014. The cross was encrusted with earth and wrapped in a silver cord. The complex and meticulous cleaning operations revealed the decorations of the cross and the gold leaf. Each arm of the object bears an engraving of one of the four evangelists of the Christian New Testament: Saint Matthew as a human, Saint Mark as a lion, Saint Luke as a calf, and Saint John as an eagle.


image credit: National Museum Scotland

Leslie Webster, former curator of Great Britain, Prehistory and Europe at the British Museum, says the cross is an exceptional example of Anglo-Saxon goldsmithing Anglo-Saxon crosses of this type are rare and the only other, dating from the 9th century and much less elaborate, has been found. Researchers say the cross was made in Northumbria – now northern England and southern Scotland – for a high-ranking clergyman.


image credit: National Museum Scotland

Researchers also imagine that the cross was stolen by a Christian cleric during a foray into a church, as was customary in Viking times, but the complexity of this discovery does not allow us to stick to the findings. stereotypes.

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