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Spectacular Anglo-Saxon cross that ‘belonged to a king’ is finally restored to its former glory

Spectacular Anglo-Saxon cross that ‘belonged to a king’ is finally restored to its former glory after lying buried in a Scottish field for 1,000 years

  • The metalwork was revealed by experts who removed dirt with a porcupine quill 
  • Was first found in 2014 in a field in west of Scotland as part of Galloway Hoard
  • Cross is believed to have been commissioned by a high-standing cleric or king 

A spectacular Anglo-Saxon cross has finally been restored to its former glory after lying buried in a Scottish field for 1,000 years.

The stunning metalwork – which is of such high quality it is believed to have been commissioned by a high-standing cleric or king – was revealed by experts who used a porcupine quill to remove the dirt.

It was first found in 2014 in a field in the west of Scotland as part of the Galloway Hoard which is the richest collection of Viking objects ever found in Britain. 

The objects which were dug up were sold to the National Museums Scotland in 2017.   

The enamelled Christian cross was found as part of the hoard, as well as silk from modern-day Istanbul, silver and crystal.

A spectacular Anglo-Saxon cross has finally been restored to its former glory after lying buried in a Scottish field for 1,000 years

It was first found in 2014 in a field in the west of Scotland as part of the Galloway Hoard which is the the richest collection of Viking objects ever found in Britain. Pictured before restoration

It was first found in 2014 in a field in the west of Scotland as part of the Galloway Hoard which is the the richest collection of Viking objects ever found in Britain. Pictured before restoration

The cross is engraved with decorations that, experts say, are highly unusual and may represent the four Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.   

Dr Martin Goldberg from National Museums Scotland told The Observer: ‘It’s just spectacular. There really isn’t a parallel. That is partly because of the time period it comes from. 

‘We imagine that a lot of ecclesiastical treasures were robbed from monasteries – that’s what the historical record of the Viking age describes to us. 

‘This is one of the survivals. The quality of the workmanship is just incredible. It’s a real privilege to see this after 1,000 years.’ 

The cross is engraved with decorations that, experts say, are highly unusual and may represent the four Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John

The cross is engraved with decorations that, experts say, are highly unusual and may represent the four Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John

The objects which were dug up were sold to the National Museums Scotland in 2017. Pictured is the cross before its restoration

The objects which were dug up were sold to the National Museums Scotland in 2017. Pictured is the cross before its restoration

The cross has survived with its intricate spiral chain. Dr Goldberg explained the chain shows that the cross was worn

The cross has survived with its intricate spiral chain. Dr Goldberg explained the chain shows that the cross was worn

The cross was found in a field in 2014 an part of it is pictured covered in mud before it was restored

The cross was found in a field in 2014 an part of it is pictured covered in mud before it was restored 

The hoard was found by an amateur metal detectorist, Derek McLennan, in Dumfries and Galloway, and auctioned off.  It was buried in the late 9th century.

Among the collection are arm rings, silver bracelets and brooches, a gold ring, the enamelled Christian cross and a bird-shaped gold pin.  

The cross has survived with its intricate spiral chain. Dr Goldberg explained the chain shows that the cross was worn.  

The hoard was found by an amateur metal detectorist, Derek McLennan, in Dumfries and Galloway, and auctioned off. It was buried in the late 9th century

The hoard was found by an amateur metal detectorist, Derek McLennan, in Dumfries and Galloway, and auctioned off. It was buried in the late 9th century

Among the collection are arm rings, silver bracelets and brooches, a gold ring, an enamelled Christian cross and a bird-shaped gold pin

Among the collection are arm rings, silver bracelets and brooches, a gold ring, an enamelled Christian cross and a bird-shaped gold pin

He added that the cleaning of the cross has revealed a late Anglo-Saxon style of decoration. 

He said it looks like the type of thing that would be commissioned at the highest levels of society.

He said: ‘First sons were usually kings and lords, second sons would become high-ranking clerics. It’s likely to come from one of these aristocratic families.’  

The National Museum of Scotland, the National Museum of Flight and the National War Museum are open. For booking information visit www.nms.ac.uk 

WHAT IS THE GALLOWAY HOARD? 

The objects were found inside a pot unearthed in 2014. 

Uncovered by a metal detectorist in Dumfries and Galloway, the collection contains more than 100 gold, silver and other items from the Viking Age.

It was buried at the beginning of the 10th Century, although some pieces date from an earlier period.

The bulk of the find is made up of rich Viking Age silver jewellery and ingots.

It also contains a range of precious metals and jewelled items including a rare gold ingot, a gold bird-shaped pin and a decorated silver-gilt cup of Continental or Byzantine origin.

An enamelled Christian cross was also found as part of the hoard, as well as silk from modern-day Istanbul, silver and crystal.

The cross is engraved with decorations that, experts say, are highly unusual and may represent the four Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

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