A dazzlingly detailed horse’s head will be one of a number of stunning items to greet the people of the Potteries next month as the Staffordshire Hoard goes on display in Stoke on Trent for the first time.
The intricate artefact (pictured above) is just a few inches in length, yet contains remarkably delicate filigree gold designs. It is the latest stunning item to emerge from the 1,500-piece collection of treasure - the largest and most valuable haul of Anglo-Saxon gold ever - found by Staffordshire metal detectorist, Terry Herbert, in 2009.
Around 80 artefacts from the hoard including gold crosses, a strip with a biblical inscription and sword pommels that date back to seventh century battlefields will be displayed at The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, between February 13 and March 7.
It will be the first time the treasure has been displayed in Staffordshire, the county in which it was found, and it will also be one of the first events to mark centenary celebrations in the city – 2010 is the anniversary of the federation of Stoke-on-Trent’s six towns.
A hilt fitting from the Hoard
“We are thrilled to be welcoming the hoard back to the region as part of our celebrations,” said Councillor Hazel Lyth, cabinet member for economic development and culture.
"This is the first time the horse’s head will be seen in public in 1,400 years. It’s an incredible, unique opportunity to marvel at our heritage. The quantity of the collection and craftsmanship involved is breathtaking."
The Potteries Museum already holds several significant Saxon metal finds including a tonne-and-a-quarter of Saxo-Norman pottery made in Staffordshire and the national post-medieval pottery reference collection.
The exhibition will support a huge fundraising effort to acquire The Staffordshire Hoard for the region. Stoke-on Trent City Council is working with Birmingham City Council to raise the £3.3m needed to buy the treasure, which is currently being researched and catalogued at the British Museum. The money needs to be raised by April 17.
The Art Fund is leading a public fundraising campaign, and donations can be made via: www.artfund.org/hoard or by calling 0844 415 4004.
The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery will be open between 10am – 5pm Monday to Saturday, and 2pm – 5pm on Sundays during the exhibition. For more information about events during the exhibition follow the information below.