Scotland’s Early Silver Comes to Museum nan Eilean

Location : Museum nan Eilean - Lews Castle
Date : -
Access during normal museum opening times.
NB: The Museum is CLOSED on Thursdays and Sundays.

A new exhibition from National Museums Scotland supported by Glenmorangie shows how silver, not gold, became the most important precious metal in Scotland over the course of the first millennium AD.

Featuring spectacular objects dating from AD75 to AD1000, and supported by The Glenmorangie Research Project on Early Medieval Scotland, Scotland’s Early Silver explores the part that silver played in the transformation of society in Scotland throughout the first millennium AD.

Today gold is more valuable than silver, but in the first millennium AD silver was the most powerful material in Scotland. Scotland’s earliest silver arrived with the Roman army and had a lasting impact on local society, quickly becoming associated with prestige and power.

In the centuries that followed, Roman silver objects were hacked up, melted down and recycled to make iconic early medieval treasures like massive silver chains and ornate brooches.

The exhibition includes the recently discovered Dairsie hoard, which dates to the late 3rd century AD and is the earliest known example of hacksilver from anywhere beyond the Roman frontier.

Also continuing on its first full public display is the Gaulcross hoard, discovered in Aberdeenshire in 2013. Since its excavation, this hoard has cast new light on how early Roman silver was recycled and repurposed over the centuries.

Visitors will also enjoy a series of short films which explain the history of some of the pieces, their discovery, and how they have been conserved for future generations.

Location : Museum nan Eilean - Lews Castle

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