The Vale of York Hoard by Gareth Williams and Barry Ager Book Review
Cover Image: The Vale of York hoard cup and coins
Title: The Vale of York Hoard
Author(s): Gareth Williams and Barry Ager
Publisher: Published by The British Museum Press, this book forms part of the British Museum's Objects In Focus series.
This is a very short book, only 48 pages in length, that is intended to introduce the reader to the Vale of York Hoard and the coins and objects contained within. One of the first things I noticed about this book was the quality of the photography. Coins, artefacts and the ninth century silver gilt cup that contained the hoard are shown in wonderfully detailed colour photographs, including an excellent two page spread showing coins and the decorated pieces of hack silver and broken artefacts.
The text of the book is written for the lay person in very plain language, no prior knowledge of Saxon or Viking Artefacts or history is presumed. The book is a fascinating introductory look at one the most intriguing hoard finds of recent years.
The Vale of York Hoard (originally known as the Harrogate Hoard) was discovered on January 6, 2007 by a father and son team of metal detectorists David and Andrew Whelan. The hoard was composed of 617 silver coins, mostly Saxon and Viking silver pennies, a gold armlet and 67 pieces of scrap silver. The hoard was bought when The British Museum and the York Museums Trust joined forces to raise the �1,082,800 price set by the Treasure Valuation Committee.
It is hard to find anything to be critical about with this book. The only thing that really springs to mind is that the book is too short and that not enough of the coins are pictured both reverse and obverse so we could have a good look at them and use the work as a valuable reference on some very rare Saxon and Viking silver coins and artefacts. But, of course, this book was only intended as an introductory text to the Vale of York Hoard and not a full and complete forensic examination of the hoard and its contents, so any criticism about the level detail in the book or number of photographs isn't really valid. Although, it would have been nice to read more about the circumstances of the find from David and Andrew Whelan.
Although I would have loved to have seen a longer more detailed book on The Vale of York Hoard, Gareth Williams and Barry Ager have done a wonderful job of presenting this metal detecting find in an absorbing and interesting way. This book will certainly be of great interest to metal detectorists, archaeologists and coin collectors alike and I highly recommend it.
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