Bedale Hoard bought by Yorkshire Museum

Natalie McCaul, curator of archaeology with a unique Viking silver neck ring from The Bedale Hoard

Natalie McCaul, curator of archaeology with a unique Viking silver neck ring from The Bedale Hoard

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THE find of a life time by two amateur treasure hunters is staying in York after more than £50,000 was raised by museum bosses to buy the Viking hoard.

It was anyone’s guess where the gold and silver sword pieces, coins, ingots and jewellery might end up when they went up for sale.

But the discovery by Stuart Campbell and Steve Caswell, which sheds new light on Yorkshire’s past, has been snapped up by the Yorkshire Museum.

The two metal detecting enthusiasts, from Masham, unearthed what is believed to be the long lost life savings of a Viking in a field near Bedale in May 2012.

Dubbed the Bedale Hoard, it included a gold sword pommel and a silver neck ring and neck collar – a type which had never been seen before.

At first, they thought they had stumbled across nothing more than an old power cable.

But then they spotted the glint of gold and unearthed tens of thousands of pounds worth of Viking gems with the help of Yorkshire Museum experts.

Now, thanks to generous donations from the public and grants from funders, the £51,636 has been raised so the hoard will remain in Yorkshire on public display.

Archaeology Curator Natalie McCaul said: “It is fantastic that the public and funders have helped us keep this spectacular hoard. We would like to thank them for their generosity.

“The hoard is an incredible and intriguing find and one that we can now carry out research on to hopefully shed new light on Viking life in this part of Yorkshire.”

The discovery was made in a part of Yorkshire where little is known about in the Viking period, shedding new light on the region one thousand years ago.

The North Yorkshire finds liaison officer of the Portable Antiquities Scheme, Rebecca Griffiths, based at the Yorkshire Museum, was also involved in the original find.

She and her colleague from the museum then went to the site and unearthed the rest of the hidden treasures.

Natalie added: “The hoard is incredibly important. It is going to tell us things we never knew before about Viking fashion and jewellery and how fashions changes and style ideas moved around in the Viking world.

“Members of staff of our team went out to excavate the hoard which is also unique. To have been there from the discovery helps us tell the whole story.”

The hoard became the property of the Crown after being declared treasure trove and the museum was given first refusal because it is local.

An appeal launched in January saw The Art Fund and the Victoria & Albert Purchase Grant Fund both contribute £11,000.

But local people and organisations who have asked to remain anonymous provided the vital cash to clinch the deal.

The hoard was on temporary display in the museum entrance during the fund-raising.

It will go away for cleaning and conservation work before being returned for permanent show as part of the Capital of the North medieval exhibition.

Ms McCaul added: “If we had not raised the money to buy it could have ended up in a private collection anywhere in the world.”

The money will be split between the finders and the landowners as a reward for handing in the jewels.

The museum has underlined more donations are needed to preserve it for future generations. To donate contact: natalie.mccaul@ymt.org.uk

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