Rare Viking treasures go on show for first time at Carlisle exhibition
Les objets vikings découverts par un chasseur de trésor voici 10 ans à Cumwhitton seront exposés l'an prochain. Le contexte archéologique est pour une fois évoqué. Ces artefacts sont les indices d'un cimetière scandinave... de femmes. Pour l'amateur de détecteur, ces objets étaient isolés... En fait, les explorations archéologiques ultérieures ont démontré que les squelettes ont disparu en raison de l'acidité du sol. La publication des résultats des fouilles est liée à l'exposition.
Artefacts including a sword, spears and ornate jewellery found in a major archaeological discovery at Cumwhitton will be viewed by the public at the Tullie House museum.
The exhibition was announced following a grant of more than £50,000 being awarded from both the Government and a cash-giving body.
Vikings Revealed will have at its heart artefacts, interpretation and analysis of finds from a cemetery dating back to the ninth century that was discovered in 2004.
Tim Padley, curator of archaeology at Tullie House, told the News & Star: “This is a local story, it happened here and I hope it will have a wide appeal.”
The artefacts were discovered in graves in a farmer’s field by metal-detector enthusiast Peter Adams in a discovery said to be rare in England.
Archaeologists at the time set about the slow process of studying and conserving the finds.
The exhibition, which will open next year, will follow the story from the discovery through the 10-year conservation and forensic investigation process.
This, say museum bosses, will help visitors understand the importance of the cemetery as one of the few discoveries found nationally with female burial sites.
Those attending will also learn about the goods found in the graves, theories about the six individuals buried and the role of women in Viking society.
Some artefacts that are too fragile to be put on display will be represented by replacements. Mr Padley said: “This discovery was a really big deal.
“It’s rare in England. It allowed full scientific analysis to be done. Unfortunately there were no bodies because of the acid soil of Cumbria. They dissolved completely away.”
Just over 20,400 visitors caught a glimpse of the Crosby Garrett Helmet, a Roman find, while it was on display at Tullie House last year.
“I’m hoping that we can persuade people that this is equally as exciting a story,” added Mr Padley.
On the grant, Mr Padley added: “It’s fantastic. It will allow us to do something that we’ve wanted to do for a while.”
Genuine artefacts from Cumwhitton will also be interpreted and contrasted with items from Tullie House collections, with emphasis on material from pagan graves elsewhere in the county.
Other themes that will be explored include burial rites, the origins of Viking people and the Viking community in Cumbria.
The funding came from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Wolfson Foundation, which awards grants to support excellence in science, medicine, the arts and humanities.
Vikings Revealed opens in February next year and coincides with the publication of the excavation’s full research findings.