November 3, 2009 / 2:00 PM / 9 years ago

Treasure on show in London as another trove found

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - The most important treasure trove found in Britain for decades went on display in London on Tuesday, the same day that another discovery valued at a million pounds ($1.6 million) was reported found in Scotland.

Part of a hoard of Anglo-Saxon treasure named 'The Staffordshire Hoard' is held by a member of museum staff during a news conference at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery during a news conference in Birmingham, central England September 24, 2009. REUTERS/ Eddie Keogh

The Staffordshire Hoard, discovered by metal detectorist Terry Herbert in central England in July, comprises over 1,500 mainly gold and silver items and has been compared in importance to the famous Sutton Hoo burial site unearthed in 1939.

A dozen or so items have gone on show at the British Museum, including sword scabbard fittings, gold beaten into the form of birds of prey, a gold cross twisted when it was put into the hoard and a mount containing a large piece of garnet.

People queued for hours when a small selection of items from the collection, valued at several millions of pounds (dollars) by some experts, were displayed in Birmingham last month.

“Like all great treasure stories, it’s already got its heroes, its myths, its battles,” Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, told reporters.

“If anyone thinks the display is rather small, there are 1,600 other pieces waiting elsewhere to be examined and valued.”

The hoard will be valued by the end of November and a fundraising campaign will be launched to secure the hoard. The intention is to keep the artefacts in the West Midlands region rather than housing them in London or abroad.

Once the treasure is valued, Herbert and the owner of the land on which the trove was found will share the amount in full.

Also on Tuesday, Scotland’s Daily Record newspaper reported another important archeological find near Stirling, not far from Edinburgh.

An amateur treasure hunter, again using a metal detector, discovered four Iron Age gold neckbands in a field.

The exact location has been kept a secret to avoid a “gold rush,” but the newspaper said it was near Stirling. Three of the necklaces are in perfect condition, and a similar item found in England in 2005 sold last year for 350,000 pounds.

According to the Record, the necklaces date from the 1st and 3rd century BC, before the Romans invaded Britain.

It quoted a source close to the dig team as saying a “torc” of similar quality has only ever been found once before in the south of France.

The source added: “The find is astonishing and raises lots of questions, such as how did a necklace designed in the south of France end up in Scotland a century before the Romans arrived?”

Reporting by Mike Collett-White

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