A recent survey of a field in northeastern Scotland has uncovered 100 pieces of ancient silver items, including handcrafted jewelry, coins and chunks of silver called ingots, a new study finds. But silver wasn't mined in Scotland during the Roman period, suggesting that these pieces came from the Roman world, the researchers said. Some of these pieces were likely recycled and recast by the Picts, the non-Roman natives living in Scotland at the time, the researchers said.
Archaeologists found the Gaulcross hoard in northeastern Scotland.
In 1838, day laborers used dynamite to clear a rocky field for farmland. They uncovered these three silver pieces — the spiral bangle, a chain and a hand pin. All three objects are now on display at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.
A small, animal-like brooch fashioned out of silver. Researchers found this piece recently during an excavation in the same field that yielded the three silver pieces in 1838.[Read the Full Story About the Gaulcross Hoard]
A crescent-shaped pendant that has two double loops. This silver artifact was also discovered during recent excavations of the Scottish field.
Two of a kind
Two hemispheres made out of silver. These were among the 100 pieces of silver recently unearthed at an excavation in northeastern Scotland.
Another silver fragment from the Gaulcross hoard. It's likely that the non-Romans — such as the Pict people — acquired the silver from Romans through looting, trade, bribes or military pay, the researchers said.
The archaeologists spent much of the winter excavating the field in Scotland.
A silver strap end piece dating to the late-Roman period.
A piece of "hacksilver" from Gaulcross. Notice the coin between the folds.
The whole hoard
The entire silver hoard (except for the three pieces discovered in 1838) on display.