Saturday, October 05, 2013

An Ulster-Scottish-Viking-Pictish artefact


Coming up for auction in England soon is this artefact. It had the following remarkable - truly multicultural - description:

8th-10th century AD. A Hiberno-Norse discoid weight with domed upper face with inset decorative panels comprising two quadrants with three spirals each, two quadrants with T-shaped keys executed in niello; between these interstitial bands of s-scrolled wire; central millefiori panel with chequerboard design; to the underside a discoid panel. 86 grams, 36 mm (1 1/2"). Found Northern Ireland, UK. The decoration of the quadrants is of Pictish workmanship. The same motifs are carved on the 8th century AD Hilton of Cadboll Stone (from Ross and Cromarty; now in the National Museum of Scotland) and elsewhere. These elements must be considered as loot or traded items which were embedded into a lead matrix in order to embellish the weight.

Auction listing is here.

(This artefact will get no media coverage as it's not political. And if a museum here purchases it, they will probably interpet it as merely geographically Irish thereby losing the nuanced and important cultural complexity)