A retired businessman from Ayrshire, Scotland, has made the find of a lifetime using his basic metal detector in a field. For Derek McLennan has unearthed a haul of viking treasure including brooches, a cross, armbands and other artefacts dating back some thousand years. Experts are saying this is the most important Viking find in Scotland to date.
Worth a six-figure sum, the treasure contains over 100 items, including a rare early Christian cross dated between the 9th and 10th century.
McLennan said of the find: “I dragged myself out of my sick bed because I had two friends that wanted to detect and I’m a bit of an obsessive.
“I unearthed the first piece, initially I didn’t understand what I had found because I thought it was a silver spoon and then I turned it over and wiped my thumb across it and I saw the Saltire-type of design and knew instantly it was Viking.
“Then my senses exploded, I went into shock, endorphins flooded my system and away I went stumbling towards my colleagues waving it in the air.”
One of the most impressive items is a silver cup engraved with animals which dates from the Holy Roman Empire, and a gold bird pin, is the largest to be found in Scotland since 1891 and could be worth a six-figure sum.
But this isn’t the first time Derek McLennan has discovered such treasures. Last year, he and a friend unearthed over 300 medieval coins in the same area of Scotland.
The coins, which date from around 1249 to 1325, bear the profiles of monarchs including Alexander III of Scotland and John Balliol, who ruled from 1292 to 1296, as well as Edward I, Edward II and Edward III.
“The Vikings were well known for having raided these shores in the past, but today we can appreciate what they have left behind,” said Scotland’s secretary for cultural and external affairs, Fiona Hyslop.