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The Rediscovery of the Cuerdale Hoard: Part 2

In a previous post, we discussed the legend behind the Cuerdale hoard. Apparently, standing on the south bank of the River Ribble and looking upriver allowed you to see the “greatest treasure in all of England.” Many had searched for the treasure and failed. Over time, the legend began to fade away. But one day, the treasure was rediscovered… by accident.

On May 15, 1840, workers were repairing the southern embankment of the river Ribble, near Curedale Hall. It was business as usual, until a corroded lead box fell from a dirt wall the workers had dug out. It was covered in muck, but the workers knew it was valuable and began to swarm the find. The foreman broke it up, claiming it was likely pewter, solder, and tin – nothing but junk. He was proven wrong after the find had been cleaned and inspected. The greatest treasure in all of England had been found.

How great was it? The Cuerdale Hoard consisted of more than 8,600 silver items, including jewelry, coins, ingots, and hacksilver – making it the largest Viking silver hoard ever discovered in England. However, its origins are still shrouded in mystery with many theories. The silver coins in the hoard – which are usually good archeological indicators – come from all over the world, with many rare and never before seen specimens. This makes narrowing down the owner and his reasons for burying it hard to determine. For now at least, the origins of the Curedale legend and treasure are lost to time.

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