Textiles in a Viking Age hoard

Published: 17 January 2023

A new paper on the Galloway Hoard research project

Composite bead pendant partially covered in preserved textile, feint traces on the metal indicate it was originally completely wrapped in textile. (Image © National Museums Scotland).

Our article identifying ephemeral traces of textiles in the Galloway Hoard, Scotland is out now. This paper presents a novel method and terminology to identify and describe textiles from ephemeral traces in metal corrosion products.

After years discussing the limits of secure textile identification on the surface of corroded metals, the authors worked together on the Viking Age Galloway Hoard. The varied metal / textile combinations acted like the Rosetta Stone of mineralised textiles, allowing us to identify textiles from tiny traces.

Available for free to anyone clicking on this link before March 08, 2023. No sign up, registration or fees are required. 

Davis, Mary. & Harris, Susanna. 2023. Textiles in a Viking Age hoard: Identifying ephemeral traces of textiles in metal corrosion products. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 103796, Online. 

Thanks to Special Edition editors: Thomas Rose, Janneke van der Stok, Manuel J.H. Peters

Scanning Electron Micrograph of corroded area on the composite bead pendant. The darker petal shapes are surviving organic threads - remnant textile surfaces; the lightest petal shapes are uncorroded silver – ghost textile surfaces (Image © National Museums Scotland).

'Unwrapping the Galloway Hoard’ is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC AH/T012218/1), PI Martin Goldberg, Principal Curator, National Museums Scotland, CoI Susanna Harris, Senior Lecturer, University of Glasgow.


First published: 17 January 2023