Metal detectorist finds Britain’s biggest ever haul of Viking treasure – with hundreds of artefacts including an ancient silver cross




An archaeologist prepares the top level hoard for removal. The historically significant find was made by Derek McLennan, a committed metal detector enthusiast who has been searching around the area in Dumfries and Galloway for the last year

‘It was a heart-stopping moment when the local archaeologist turned it over to reveal rich decoration on the other side.’1413141986964_wps_10_An_archaeologist_preparin

Mr McLennan is no stranger to finding treasure, having been part of a group which discovered more than 300 medieval silver coins shortly before Christmas last year.

Scotland’s Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said of the latest find: ‘The Vikings were well known for having raided these shores in the past, but today we can appreciate what they have left behind, with this wonderful addition to Scotland’s cultural heritage.1413141877803_wps_9_A_gold_ring_The_oval_shap

‘It’s clear that these artefacts are of great value in themselves, but their greatest value will be in what they can contribute to our understanding of life in early medieval Scotland, and what they tell us about the interaction between the different peoples in these islands at that time.1413141775870_wps_6_Gold_Bird_Pin_Metal_detec

‘The Dumfries hoard opens a fascinating window on a formative period in the story of Scotland and just goes to show how important our archaeological heritage in Scotland continues to be.’

Under Scots common law for rediscovered relics the hoard is currently in the care of the Treasure Trove Unit.



  • Location searched by enthusiast Derek McLennan for a year without success
  • Locale is not being identified by the Church of Scotland which owns land
  • Derek McLennan speechless when he made discovery in early September
  • Hoard includes possibly the largest silver pot from Carolingian dynasty discovered and could be up to 1,200-years-old1413140929460_wps_4_An_early_medieval_cross_A


The largest haul of Viking treasure ever found in Britain has been unearthed by a metal detector enthusiast, it was revealed today.

The discovery was found on Church of Scotland land after the detectorist painstakingly searched the unidentified area in Dumfries and Galloway for more than a year.

The hoard, which consists of more than a hundred artefacts, many of which are historically unique, is now under the care of the Treasure Trove Unit and is regarded as being of significant international importance.


Treasure hunter Derek McLennan who spent a year searching the unidentified location in Dumfries and Galloway before stumbling on the treasure trove in September

An agreement between the landowners – the Church of Scotland General Trustees – and Mr McLennan – has been reached for an appropriate finder’s fee.

One of the most significant Viking hoards ever discovered in Scotland

Secretary to the General Trustees, David Robertson, said: ‘We are very excited to have been part of such an historic find and we commend Derek for the spirit in which he has worked with us and the other agencies involved in making sure everything is properly registered and accounted for.

‘Any money arising from this will first and foremost be used for the good of the local parish. We recognise Derek is very responsible in pursuing his interest, but we do not encourage metal detecting on Church land unless detailed arrangements have been agreed beforehand with the General Trustees.’

The exact location of the find is being kept secret, and the Scottish Government, Treasure Trove Unit, and Historic Scotland are all working to preserve the site while its full significance is being determined.

Experts at the unit described the find as ‘one of the most significant Viking hoards ever discovered in Scotland’.

Stuart Campbell, the head of the Treasure Trove Unit, who is overseeing assessment of the hoard, said: ‘This is a very important and significant find and has required the close cooperation of Historic Scotland with Treasure Trove Unit and National Museums Scotland staff to recover the fascinating items it contains.

‘Due to the quantity and variety of the objects, and the importance of the find overall, it will take some time for experts to assess the hoard as a whole so that we can appreciate its true significance. We look forward to learning more.’

All the objects will now undergo extensive conservation work in order to determine more about their individual historical significance.


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