A hoard of interesting objects from the Viking Age
The Dock Museum in Barrow-in-Furness houses a Viking gallery referencing evidence of the Vikings in Furness. Place names, artefacts and runic inscription attest how the Vikings came ashore in this area. The origin of Furness can be explained in several ways but the simplest is Far Ness, the second element being Norse for a headland, hence the far landfall as seen from the southern coast of Morecambe Bay.
The Furness Hoard was an exciting discovery, unearthed by a metal detectorist in 2011. It is by far the largest amount of Viking treasure ever found in this area. The hoard consists of 92 silver coins and artefacts (among them ingots and arm-ring or "ring money").
The remnants of a Viking sword were found at Rampside Churchyard in 1909 whilst lead weights at Dalton and Viking whorls at Pennington also provide archaeological evidence of Viking influence on the area.
The British Museum also displays the "Furness Head". It is a hollow copper-alloy casting of the front of a frowning head, believed to originally be part of "impressive ecclesiastical furniture” in the 8th century. It was re-used in the 9th and/or 10th century as a Viking weight.
At Pennington a tympanum was discovered with runic letters. A tympanum is an architectural term for a semi-circular or triangular-shaped surface over an entrance. A rune is a letter of an alphabet and these were used to write in Germanic languages, including Scandinavian ones. The Pennington tympanum probably came from the church and is believed to be late Scandinavian.