As victories for metal detectorists and breathtaking treasure discoveries, the set of Iron Age torcs unearthed in a safari park near Stirling in November 2009 and the pot of gold which became the largest single set of Roman coins ever found in Britain when it was discovered in Frome in April 2011 were unprecedented.
Now the lengthy, intensive campaigns to keep both collections in the lands where they were buried has also resulted in triumph, securing crucial grants totalling almost £450,000 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund to meet fundraising shortfalls for their acquisitions.
“The timing is perfect as we prepare for our opening in the summer of 2011,” says Steve Minnett, the head of the Museum of Somerset where the £320,000 Frome Hoard, which has been at the centre of a widespread appeal involving books, Medieval fundraising events and a double-your-money offer from The Art Fund, will take pride of place.
“The Hoard has received a tremendous amount of public interest locally and from around the world. I am delighted that the campaign to acquire it was successful.”
The Heritage Minister, John Penrose, praised the funding bodies and a public appeal which raised £13,657.
“Making sure the Hoard stays in Britain is great news,” he said. “Ensuring it can stay in the very county in which it was discovered is even better.”
Several hundred miles north, the National Museum of Scotland will receive the £462,000 Iron Age Gold Hoard, featuring four intricate torcs revealing Scotland’s links with French and Spanish nobility between the 1st and 3rd centuries BC.
Park keeper David Booth’s grin was as dazzling as his discoveries, a gold quartet described as “stunning” by National Museums Scotland Director Dr Gordon Rintoul, speaking from another venue which will put its newest arrivals at the heart of a spate of impressive improvements.
“We already attract more than 600,000 visitors a year from Scotland and across the world, and expect many more when the fully redeveloped museum opens this summer,” he said.
“The Hoard is certain to become one of the highlights of a visit to the museum.”
Stephen Deuchar, the Director of the Art Fund, said organisers were “absolutely thrilled” at the announcements.
“Both the Roman coins in Somerset and Torcs in Scotland are going to absolutely the right places where generations can learn, enjoy and be inspired by them, and experts can carry out vital research.
“This is an example of how private and public funds come together to save important heritage items.”
Watch British Museum experts discuss the Frome Hoard: