An age-old Viking hoard proved a feast for the eyes at a roadshow over the weekend.
People from all over Oxfordshire got a chance to see the treasure close up at Bicester Library on Saturday.
Selected pieces from a Viking find at Watlington in 2015 were on show thanks to a collaboration between the Ashmolean Museum and Oxfordshire Museum Service.
The free roadshow events include talks, displays of items from the hoard, and family-friendly craft activities at locations including Bicester, Faringdon and, of course, Watlington.
Gareth Williams, curator of early and medieval coinage and Viking collections at the British Museum, was also there to give a public lecture.
With more than 700 people contributing to an appeal, the Ashmolean Museum raised £1.35 million to purchase the hoard for the nation in 2015.
A Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £1.1 million was used to fund events like the roadshow.
Carol Anderson, Oxfordshire County Council’s museums service manager, said: “We are delighted to be able to work with colleagues
from the Ashmolean to take the hoard out into communities across Oxfordshire.
“This enables as many people as possible to see this remarkable find and learn more about its discovery and significance for the history of England.”
The Watlington Viking hoard comprises about 200 coins, seven items of jewellery and 15 ingots (bars of silver).
Although the find was not particularly large, it is hugely significant
as it contains coins of Alfred the Great, King of Wessex, and Ceolwulf of Mercia, all of whom were important
figures in Anglo-Saxon Viking history.
The hoard also contains rare ‘Two Emperors’ pennies, showing the two kings seated side-by-side, suggesting an alliance between the kingdoms of Wessex and Mercia.
This challenges other accounts in written sources that suggested that Ceolwulf was just a ‘puppet’ of the Vikings.