£3.3m needed to save UK's largest Anglo Saxon treasure
The hoard 'must not be split up' says leading historian campaigning to keep it in the Midlands, UK
A leading historian has launched a public appeal to keep one of the most jaw-dropping Anglo Saxon archaeological finds in the West Midlands, UK
David Starkey's appeal aims to raise £3.3m in three months, to keep the gold hoard - discovered by Terry Herbert in Staffordshire - near its place of origin.
Herbert, aged 55, from Burntwood, Staffordshire, uncovered the treasure in July, 2009 after 18 years of dedicated hunting with a metal detector, which he bought for just £2.50 at a car boot sale.
The hoard includes 5kg of gold and 2.5kg of silver.
"It won't go aboard because an export bar would be put on it. But the worst case scenario is that it might be sold on the open market and split up," said Starkey.
"That can't be allowed to happen."
"It is not just the quantity of the find that is remarkable, it is the quality and the story that it tells," Starkey told UK newspaper the Guardian.
Archaeologists and politicians are supporting Starkey in his campaign.
While he acknowledges that economic times are hard, the historian is reportedly heartened by the large public queues to view the treasure.
The hoard was valued at £3.3m last September, which will be shared between Herbert and the farmer in whose field it was uncovered.
Historians have been studying the treasure, which includes depictions of men wearing wolfskin masks and pelts - believed to be an elite squad attached to Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon lords, reports the Guardian.
So far, the Art Fund has pledged £300,000 to the campaign, while the councils of Birmingham City and Stoke-on-Trent have pledged £100,000 each.
If Starkey's campaign is successful, the hoard will exhibit at Birmingham museum and art gallery, and the Potteries museum and art gallery in Stoke.
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Images: David Rowan