A HOARD of Viking treasure unearthed by metal detector enthusiasts in a North Yorkshire field is likely to be “significant and nationally important”, according to experts.

The stash of gold and silver jewellery is currently being conserved at the British Museum in London, but the York Museums Trust plans to try to raise money to keep the hoard in North Yorkshire.

The find includes 29 silver ingots, five silver neck rings, gold rivets, a gold sword pommel and half a silver brooch, dating from the late ninth century and early tenth century.

It was found buried near Bedale last May.

One of the silver neck rings has caused a particular stir, with experts declaring it a “unique” find.

The jewellery was found by metal detectorist Stuart Campbell, who reported it to Rebecca Griffiths, the finds liaison officer at the Yorkshire Museum in York.

She and a colleague then went to the site to excavate the rest of the hoard.

Andrew Morrison, head curator at the Yorkshire Museum, said: “This is a significant and nationally important find which we hope will shed new light on Yorkshire at that time.

“The artefacts uncovered are typical of a Viking hoard, with the majority of it being silver ingots which were used for currency.

“However, the gold sword pommel and a unique silver neck ring are incredibly beautiful and rare finds. We now hope to raise the funds needed to keep them in Yorkshire.”

The hoard is thought to be Viking bullion, obtained in trade or plundered from enemies, and whoever originally buried it is likely to have intended to come back for it, to exchange or melt it down and reuse for jewellery.

The next step will be for the find to be officially declared “treasure” by a coroner under the Treasure Act.

The large pommel is believed to be from an Anglo-Saxon sword. It is made from iron and is inlaid with gold foil.

The plaques bear Trewhiddle style decoration (named after a hoard found in Trewhiddle, Cornwall), consisting of animals, which was a common style in the ninth century.