Metal-detector enthusiast unearths $5.5 million in gold

Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:58pm EST
 
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - The largest haul of Anglo-Saxon gold ever discovered, unearthed by a metal-detector enthusiast in a farmer's field, has been valued at 3.28 million pounds ($5.5 million) by a committee of experts.

The Staffordshire Hoard, found by Terry Herbert in central England in July, comprises over 1,500 mainly gold and silver items thought to date back to the 7th century.

Under Treasure Trove laws, the money will be split between the finder, Herbert, and the landowner, Fred Johnson.

The find has been compared in importance to the spectacular Sutton Hoo burial site, a huge ship grave in eastern England excavated in 1939.

The cache comprises sword-hilts, fragments of gold helmets, some elaborately decorated, and other pieces of weaponry inlaid with precious stones.

The two museums which hope to acquire the hoard, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and the Potteries Museum, along with the finder and the landowner, have all approved the valuation.

A dozen or so items from the hoard have gone on show at the British Museum in London. Hundreds of people queued for hours when a small selection of items were displayed in Birmingham earlier this year.

(Reporting by Stefano Ambrogi; Editing by Steve Addison)

 
<p>A strip of gold bearing a Biblical inscription, part of a hoard of Anglo-Saxon treasure named 'The Staffordshire Hoard', is held by a member of museum staff at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery in Birmingham, central England September 24, 2009. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh</p>