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Viking Age 'treasure' discovered by metal detectorist on Isle of Man

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A metal detectorist has uncovered a Viking Age silver ingot on the Isle of Man.

John Smart discovered the 1,000-year-old, finger-sized sliver of metal while exploring the island, which sits in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and England, according to a statement from Manx National Heritage.

Smart, who has been a metal detectorist for more than 40 years, said he never tires of the thrill of searching for buried treasure on the island.

"It's the thought of finding something of interest ... you're detecting over a land with nothing, it's soundless, then suddenly there's a little beep," Smart told the Isle of Man's Manx Radio

Per the island's Treasure Act 2017, Smart relinquished the artifact to Manx National Heritage, which handed it over to the island's Coroner of Inquests.

Related: Viking sword with 'very rare' inscription discovered on family farm in Norway

The Coroner of Inquests declared the piece of metal, which weighs approximately 0.4 ounce (11 grams), a "treasure." This determination was based on a silver analysis using X-ray fluorescence, which reveals chemical signatures, and a scanning electron microscope, which also gives chemical composition information. The analysis was conducted by the University of Liverpool and Manx National Heritage. 

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