A University College Cork scholar has made new discoveries about Viking loot that was ransacked from Ireland.
He has determined that sacred objects were taken from Ireland's early churches and turned into jewelry by Vikings in Norway, Sweden, and other Scandinavian countries.
Despite the origin of these jewelries, there is no pressing initiative to have the items that were raided from the 'soft targets' that churches provided returned to Ireland.
Dr. Griffin Murray of the Department of Archaeology at UCC will speak at an international Viking Conference in Shetland, Scotland this week and say that he would like to see Irish treasures returned in the form of a temporary exhibition.
The treasures that were "taken by the armful" date back to raids as early as 795AD. These raids continued on through the ninth century with "particular intensity."
Dr. Murray's findings come as a result of "an intensive UCC research program on Irish treasures," which are now showing up regularly in Viking graves. Fragments of early Irish and Scottish crosiers found in Scandinavia kicked off the exciting discoveries.
"Not appreciating the sacred nature of these objects, they broke them up, using the fragments to decorate their possessions and turning others into brooches for Viking women," says Murray.
Murray will present these discoveries at the 17th Viking Congress on the Shetland Islands. The conference will hear from world experts in fields ranging from archaeology to runology, and is the most prestigious Viking studies conference.
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