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Hidden treasures from the VIking and Bronze Age era discovered in Co Down

A Viking silver ring was discovered near Groomsport

A VIKING ring and piece of gold Bronze Age jewellery are among the hidden treasures discovered in Co Down.

The significance of the two items, as well as a fragment of Viking hacksilver, was discussed at Belfast Coroners Court yesterday. It comes a day after the same court heard about the discovery of two medieval rings and a silver brooch Ardglass and Dunseverick.

The hearing yesterday heard that a Viking silver ring, made from coiled and twisted wire and believed to date back to the 9th to 10th century, was found near Groomsport.

Viking rings are rare, with just 15 such items in Ireland, and most made from gold.

Historians believe the absence of a known Viking site in the immediate vicinity of the find suggests the ring was lost. However, Viking raids were recorded in several locations in Co Down, including the monastery at Bangor.

Meanwhile, a fragment of Viking hacksilver was also been discovered near Drumbo.

The shape and faint traces of decoration meant it could be identified as a piece of Viking hacksilver from the 9th to 10th century.

The piece is less than 2cm in length and could originally been part of a larger item known as an 'arm-ring' or bracelet. The item could also have acted as a form of currency.

At Castleaverry, near Scrabo on the outskirts of Newtownards, a small item of Bronze Age gold jewellery was also located.

Known as a 'sleeve-fastener' and dating to around 800BC, as far as the surviving evidence suggests, it conforms to a pattern of single finds of Bronze Age gold.

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