26 Sep 2009

People queue to see Anglo-Saxon treasure

1:03 pm on 26 September 2009

Hundreds of people in Birmingham have been queuing to see part of Britain's biggest trove of Anglo-Saxon treasure.

About 1300 mainly gold and silver items have been recovered after initial discoveries by treasure hunter Terry Herbert in Staffordshire. It includes a large number of sword pommels and hilt plates.

Visitors to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery are able to see a selection of the items until 13 October.

So many people turned up on the first day, the opening was delayed while exhibits were moved to a larger space.

Mr Herbert, 55, from Burntwood, Staffordshire, discovered the items just below the surface of a cultivated field in the south of the county in July, using a metal detector.

The collection, which may date to the 7th Century, contains about 5kg of gold and 2.5kg of silver.

Bigger than 1939 find

It was declared treasure by South Staffordshire coroner Andrew Haigh, meaning it belongs to the Crown.

After its public showing the hoard's worth will be assessed by the Treasure Valuation Committee. Mr Herbert and the landowner will share the value.

The BBC reports museums will be able to bid for the collection once a market value has been ascertained.

A joint acquisition between Staffordshire County Council, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery has already been proposed.

The Staffordshire hoard is far bigger than the Sutton Hoo discovery in 1939 when 1.5kg of Anglo-Saxon gold was found near Woodbridge in Suffolk. ,