The Whithorn Lecture

4 October 2019

The latest remarkable findings about the origins of the Galloway Hoard - discussed in Saturday's 10.30am Whithorn Lecture - have certainly caught the media's attention.The lecture, which takes place as part of the book festival, is being delivered by Dr David Parsons, who has spent time examining the astonishing 1100-year-old collection of items dug up in our region in 2014.An expert in runes, Parsons discovered a series of personal names etched on some of the silver items that were part of the "Viking Age" hoard.One of these names was “Ecgbeorht” or, in its more modern form, Egbert and was in Anglo-Saxon runes.The latest thinking is that the hoard was buried in a dire emergency, and divided up in lots that belonged to different people.And to some people's surprise it seems that these might have been Anglo-Saxons living in Galloway.And in this case none were able to return to recover their hugely valuable belongings.The Times, Herald and others all carried the story - but probably the fullest version is from The Scotsman and can be seen online here Parsons will not just be talking about the hoard, indeed he will be talking about the much wider issue of what we can learn from the many other runes in Galloway - including those on the Whithorn Stones.Some of these are also marked with Anglo-Saxon runes, which are the earliest written records of people in the region and date from the 5th to the 11th centuries.The inscriptions, which are in a variety of languages, offer what Dr Parsons describes as a “little window” on a period when Galloway was raided and sometimes settled by people from Northern Europe, Scandinavia and Ireland.Dr Parsons said: “It was a real privilege to be able to study the Galloway Hoard – it truly is one of the most remarkable archaeological finds ever made in this country.“It’s fascinating to look at how it ties in with other evidence, including from the Whithorn Stones, about what was happening in the region at the time.“In my talk I will be revealing my findings from the hoard and looking at the impact of the Viking and Anglo-Saxon incursions and at how south west Scotland was a melting pot, affected by cultural currents from across large parts of Europe.”