The artifact was found in April 2012 while David Taylor and also his brother-in-law Andrew Coulter were getting rid of rocks from a field on Coulter’s farm in the village of Kircubbin in Northern Ireland’s Country Down. After spotting the dirt-encrusted object laying on among the rocks, Taylor took it, incorrectly assuming it might be a piece of machinery of some value. His wife, however, wasn’t persuaded and also recommended he just simply throw it in the garbage. Instead, Taylor spoke to a local museum, which informed that he hadn’t found a piece of machinery, but something much more significant.
For the Vikings, arm rings such as the one found by Dave Taylor were not simply ornamental. They were commonly used to cement bonds of loyalty in between a lord along with his warriors in a society where men lived and even died by their honor. They were usually bestowed upon young adult males to represent their coming of age. On top of that, some groups used the rings– which were made of rare-earth elements– as a form of, easily transportable (and also protectable) currency, in a time before coins or paper money.
Several years ago, an inquest was convened in Belfast Coroners Court, which holds jurisdiction over the discovery under the United Kingdom’s antiquity laws. At the inquest, experts testified that the ring was 90 percent silver (yet additionally included traces of copper and also gold) and likely dated to in between 950 and 1100 A.D. They additionally informed the court that the arm ring really did not come from Ireland but in Scotland, probably in the Orkney Islands or Shetland, which were under Viking control during that time.
Practically as unusual as the ring itself is the reality that it was the only Viking artifact found at the Kircubbin site. Items such as these have actually often been discovered as part of a bigger pile of treasures, such as a 1998 find of Viking jewelry and also silver pieces valued at more than $1 million or the discovery of the Silverdale Hoard in 2011, a collection of over 200 pieces thought to be among the biggest Viking treasure troves ever found in the United Kingdom. That coupled with its likely Scottish origins led professionals to speculate that the ring might have passed from Scottish or Viking control to Irish hands through trade, theft or as a spoil of war. The place of Andrew Coulter’s farm near the remains of a medieval church given additional clues concerning the ring’s possible history. In an era with little in the way of home protection technology, it prevailed practice to bury valuables near sacred, and probably secure, lands such as those owned by churches.
The ring has actually been sent out to the UK’s Treasure Valuation Committee, comprised of antiquity experts from the British Museum as well as in other places, for further study. Along with learning more about the ring’s history, the committee hopes to figure out its monetary value. If Taylor chooses to sell the ring, (with Northern Ireland’s Ulster Museum a most likely destination) he will be legally required to split any kind of proceeds with his brother-in-law, on whose land it was found.