SOME of the most important Viking treasure to be found in 150 years has gone on show at the Yorkshire Museum in York.

The Vale of York Viking Hoard, worth over a million pounds, was jointly acquired last month by the York Museums Trust and the British Museum in London.

The purchase was made with the help of a £500,000 grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and £250,000 from an independent charity, the Art Fund, together with £200,000 raised through a public appeal, £30,000 from the York trust and £97,000 from the British Museum Challenge Fund. The hoard of precious metal items was found at an undisclosed location in North Yorkshire in 2007 by two metal detectors, David and Andrew Whelan.

It includes 617 coins, ornaments, ingots and chopped-up fragments, but the most spectacular single object is a gilt silver vessel, made in what is now France or Germany in the ninth century.

It was apparently made for church services, and may have been looted from a monastery by Vikings. The hoard was probably buried for safety by a wealthy Viking leader during a period of unrest.

The hoard will be on show at the main hall in the museum until November 1.