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Golden Gifts to a Sea God: The Broighter Hoard and Its Mysterious Golden Boat

Sunday, November 20, 2016 18:09
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Golden Gifts to a Sea God: The Broighter Hoard and Its Mysterious Golden Boat

The golden treasure called the Broighter Hoard was found at the site of Lough Foyle, near Limavady in Northern Ireland at the end of the 19th century. Its discoverers couldn't believe their eyes when they made the magnificent find. The treasure is now exhibited at the National Museum of Ireland, and the Ulster Museum in Belfast has replicas. The gorgeous artifacts continue to be symbols of ancient Irish culture.

A Magnificent Discovery

The wonderful treasure had been underground for many centuries. But one day in February 1896, Thomas Nicholl and James Morrow were double ploughing (one plough following the other to increase the depth) when they discovered the hoard. The golden treasure was found 35 cm (14 inches) underground.

Map showing the location of Lough Foyle.

Map showing the location of Lough Foyle. (Public Domain)

They took the treasures to their farm and Thomas Nicholl’s future wife, Maggie, washed them. At that moment, they still didn't know that they were holding a golden treasure hoard in their hands. When they finally realized the treasure’s value, all the most precious pieces had already been taken by the man who had hired them. J. L. Gibson sold the treasure to the local antiquarian, while another part of the hoard was sold by Morrow’s sister to a jeweler.

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