A MIXED hoard of early medieval silver artefacts found by a metal detectorist in Cumbria has been officially classed as treasure, an inquest has heard.

The hoard was found by Mr David Craig in pastureland in the Ireby and Uldale parish, and was buried around eight inches deep in the ground.

The hoard consists of four silver strap-ends, in five pieces, along with seven silver bracelet fragments and one lead or lead alloy game piece.

The strap ends are decorated with intertwined animals and other patterns, and would have been used to secure belts or straps.

The five fragments feature ‘more or less’ the same decoration, according to the official description read to the Cockermouth Coroner’s Court, and are thought to date from between 840AD to 920AD.

The strap-ends are thought to be Anglo-Saxon in origin, in contrast to the rest of the hoard which indicate Viking craftsmanship.

Four of the bracelet fragments ‘may be from the same bracelet’, featuring a beaded border with a raised zig-zag pattern, while the other two fragments have no beading.

The final piece mentioned is a probable medieval game piece, estimated to be from between 800AD to 1066AD, the year generally classed as the end of the Viking era in England. 

The description of the game piece said: “A similar three-legged object was also found in Lincolnshire.  

“(This was) at the Viking campsite nine miles northwest of Lincoln” 

“The presence of all finds in one field are indicative of dispersed hoard of silver.” 

For any hoard to be classed as ‘treasure’, it must go through the coronial process, to determine that the find is over 300 years old, contain more than ten per cent precious metal, and that the items are of sufficient quantity, being found in close proximity to each other. 

Assistant Coroner for Cumbria Ms Margaret Taylor concluded: “Clearly, this is treasure, which I will record.  

“I’ve been told that there is a museum interested in acquiring the objects.”