Two British museums acquire £1million Viking treasure hoard

By Culture24 Staff | 27 August 2009
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a display of pieces of silver treaure on a black background

The Vale of York hoard. © Trustees of the British Museum

The most important Viking treasure to be discovered in 150 years has been jointly acquired by York Museums Trust and the British Museum.

Discovered in January 2007 by two metal detectorists David and Andrew Whelan who reported it to their local finds officer, the hoard has since been valued at more than £1million by the Independent Treasure Valuation Committee. It will now go on joint display at the two venues.

a sliver bowl decorated with detailed engraving

Silver gilt vessel © Trustees of the British Museum

“Being keen metal detectorists we always dreamt of finding a hoard, but to find one from such a fantastic period of history, is just unbelievable,” said David and Andrew Whelan.

“The contents of the hoard we found went far beyond our wildest dreams and hopefully people will love seeing the objects on display in York and London for many, many years to come.”

The acquisition of the Vale of York hoard was made possible thanks to donations from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, The Art Fund, the Challenge Fund and York Museums Trust.

A public fundraising appeal also helped to raise a substantial amount of money and there were generous donations from the Friends of the British Museum and individuals.

a gold bracelet

Gold arm ring. © Trustees of the British Museum

“The Vale of York Viking Hoard is a once in a lifetime find. It will greatly add to the understanding of the early 900s in Yorkshire and its connections with the wider world,” said Mary Kershaw, Director of Collections at York.

Highlights will go on display at the Yorkshire Museum in York from September 17 to November 1 before moving to the British Museum.

Jonathan Williams, Keeper of Prehistory and Europe at the British Museum, added: “This find is of global importance, as well as having huge significance for the history of England and Yorkshire. York Museum Trust and the British Museum have worked together to acquire, interpret and exhibit the hoard to make it accessible to the widest possible public. We are hugely grateful to all funders whose generosity has meant we were able to acquire the hoard.”

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