In October 2015, metal detectorist James Mather discovered an important Viking hoard near Watlington in South Oxfordshire. It dates from the end of the 870s, a key moment in the struggle between Anglo-Saxons and Vikings for control of southern England.
The first large Viking hoard discovered in Oxfordshire, it contains over 200 Anglo-Saxon coins, including many examples of previously rare coins of Alfred the Great, King of Wessex (871-899) and his less well-known contemporary, King Ceolwulf II of Mercia (874-879).
The Ashmolean has a unique opportunity to acquire the momentous Watlington Hoard. Thanks to pivotal grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Ashmolean Friends and Patrons, and several individuals, we have already managed to raise 80% of the £1.35m we need. We now have until 31 January 2017 to raise the remaining funds – otherwise it is highly likely that the Hoard will be broken up into individual lots, sold at auction to private collectors, and may not be seen again in public.
During the fundraising appeal, the hoard is on display at the Ashmolean in the England Gallery (Floor 2) where it can be seen together with the Alfred Jewel.