The Viking silver hoard harvested in a Co Antrim farmer's field
A Polish baker with a passion for history and metal detecting has discovered Viking treasure in a Co Antrim farmer's field.
At a treasure trove inquest at Belfast Coroner's Court yesterday, the hearing was told Marcin Sadowski (32), from Ballinderry, had unearthed two hack-silver ingots after seeking permission from farmer Thomas Hays to survey his land in Poobles, Aghalee, last year.
On September 22, 2012, during a two-hour search, Mr Sadowski discovered a 39g piece of silver, six inches below the surface of the ground on the Soldierstown Road, known by Mr Hays as The Wood Field.
On a second search on October 27, 2012, a 1g piece of sliver was discovered in the same area.
The larger of the two artefacts had been cut from a bar of silver and the smaller one cut from an arm ring.
The two pieces of treasure, both with a silver content of more than 90%, and a Roman brooch, were handed over to the Armagh Museum, which will retain them for display following valuation by the British Museum.
The silver was reported to the Coroners Court, as is required by law under the Treasure Act (1996).
Mr Sadowski told the Belfast Telegraph: "The main idea behind finding stuff is so that people can see it in museums."
The Poobles Hoard, as it is now known, may have formed part of a larger hoard.
Exactly why it was buried, however, remains a mystery.
The Annals Of Ulster record the activities of Vikings in the kingdom of Ulaid, which would have included the area of Poobles, where Polish baker Marcin Sadowski discovered two pieces of hack-silver last year. In the mid to late 830s, the Vikings established a longphort on Lough Neagh, using it as a base to plunder throughout the northern part of Ireland, and this remained in existence for more than a century.