Hoard of sil­ver to go on pub­lic dis­play

HIS­TORY: An­cient Ro­man trea­sure was found in Fife vil­lage by teenage metal de­tec­torist

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - NEWS - craig smith csmith@the­courier.co.uk

A his­tor­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant hoard of Ro­man sil­ver dis­cov­ered by a teenager in the Fife vil­lage of Dair­sie will go on pub­lic dis­play for the first time to­day.

The so-called Dair­sie Hoard, which dates back to the late third cen­tury, is the ear­li­est known ex­am­ple of “hack­sil­ver” from any­where beyond the Ro­man fron­tier, and was found by a 14-year-old boy in a field in 2014.

It has been in­cluded in a new ex­hi­bi­tion at the Na­tional Mu­seum of Scot­land en­ti­tled “Scot­land’s Early Sil­ver”, which will show how sil­ver be­came the most im­por­tant pre­cious metal in the coun­try over the course of the first mil­len­nium.

Run­ning un­til Fe­bru­ary 25, the ex­hi­bi­tion will show­case the sil­ver which ar­rived in Scot­land with the Ro­man army, and demon­strate the last­ing im­pact the new ma­te­rial had on early me­dieval Scot­land.

The hoard was dis­cov­ered by Liv­ingston teenager David Hall and was his “first proper find”.

He said: “It was quite a bor­ing day. I was at a rally with 103 metal de­tec­torists and we were look­ing in three fields and noth­ing had come up.

“All of a sud­den I found a few bits of sil­ver and I showed it to a friend who said it was Ro­man and af­ter that we found an­other 200 pieces on the first day.

“I didn’t re­alise how im­por­tant it was at first, but it’s been re­ally ex­cit­ing to be able to come and see what Na­tional Mu­se­ums’ cu­ra­tors and con­ser­va­tors have been able to do to clean it up and to ex­am­ine it to work out what it is.”

Arche­ol­o­gists think the sil­ver found in Fife may have been used by Ro­man sol­diers to bribe Picts while pass­ing through Scot­land.

It is thought it had been hacked into pieces by the Ro­mans, but it was also shat­tered by plough­ing in the fields in more re­cent times.

The new ex­hi­bi­tion will also see the Gaulcross Hoard go on full pub­lic dis­play for the first time since its dis­cov­ery in Aberdeen­shire in 2013.

In ad­di­tion, nine sur­viv­ing “mas­sive” sil­ver chains will be dis­played to­gether for the first time – ob­jects which were made between 400-600AD by lo­cal tribes reusing and re­cy­cling the Ro­man sil­ver, a prac­tice which con­tin­ued through to the com­ing of the Vik­ings.

Pic­ture: PA.

Gallery as­sis­tant Alice Wyl­lie takes a closer look at the Hun­ter­ston brooch which fea­tures in the ex­hi­bi­tion.

Pic­ture: Neil Hanna.

David Hall looks at some of the hoard with Glen­morangie re­search fel­low, Alice Black­well, the cu­ra­tor of the ex­hi­bi­tion.

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