November 20, 2009 / 3:44 PM / 9 years ago

Treasure lectures hot tickets at British Museum

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - The most important treasure trove found in Britain for decades is on display at the British museum in London and will be the subject of two hot-ticket lectures and a drop-in talk by experts in the coming weeks.

A strip of gold bearing a Biblical inscription is seen amongst a hoard of Anglo-Saxon treasure named 'The Staffordshire Hoard' at the Birmingham Museum and Art gallery in Birmingham, central England in this September 24, 2009 file photo. 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 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.

Now the hot tickets for treasure or Anglo-Saxon history buffs in the next coming weeks are five-pound ($8.26) lectures about the hoard on November 26 and December 10 by two of Britain’s top antiquities experts who have been studying the hoard and a drop-in public museum talk on December 9 by a museum curator.

“Tickets for the Staffordshire hoard lectures are selling well,” the British Museum said in an emailed statement.

National Advisor for the Portable Antiquities Scheme Kevin Leahy will give his first impressions of cataloguing the Staffordshire find in the November 26 talk, including the shock of finding a profusion of previously rare objects.

At the December 10 talk Roger Bland, Head of Portable Antiquities and Treasure at the British Museum — who has been involved with the Staffordshire Hoard since it was found — will tell the story of how it was found, the work that has been carried out on the hoard so far, and what will happen next.

British Museum curator of early Medieval Coinage Gareth Williams will deliver a public drop-in talk entitled “Beowulf, Bede and Booty: interpreting the Staffordshire Anglo-Saxon Hoard” on December 9.

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

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

Once the treasure is valued, the finder Herbert and the owner of the land where it lay will share the amount in full.

Editing by Steve Addison

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