Bid launched to keep Viking hoard in Dumfries and Galloway

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A campaign has been launched to ensure a 1,000-year-old Viking hoard found buried in a Dumfries and Galloway field stays in the local area.

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Derek McLennan the metal detectorist who unearthed a hoard of Viking artefacts in Dumfries & Galloway. Picture: GordonF raser

Derek McLennan the metal detectorist who unearthed a hoard of Viking artefacts in Dumfries & Galloway. Picture: GordonF raser

The objects were found inside a pot unearthed in 2014 and include rare items such as a gold bird-shaped pin, an enamelled Christian cross and silk from modern-day Istanbul as well as silver and crystal.

The items date from the ninth and 10th centuries and are part of a wider hoard of about 100 pieces, which experts say is the most important Viking discovery in Scotland for more than a century.

The hoard was discovered at an undisclosed location in the region by a metal detectorist.

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The Galloway Viking Hoard Campaign (GVH) is backing local council proposals for the “extraordinary” treasure to have its permanent home in a specially-designed exhibition space at the new Kirkcudbright Art Gallery rather than at the National Museums Scotland in Edinburgh.

Campaigners have highlighted a growing trend for archaeological and cultural items to be exhibited locally rather than in capital cities - boosting cultural tourism and enriching a region’s ability to celebrate its own distinctive history.

GVH campaigner Cathy Agnew said: “Remarkable finds have so often been whisked away from the communities where they were discovered only to become a small feature in a large national museum.

“This is a very old-fashioned approach and in 2017 we should be making sure that regions fully benefit from their cultural riches.

“Having a collection of this kind in Dumfries and Galloway would act as a powerful magnet to bring in visitors from all over the country and overseas, benefiting the local economy by encouraging them to spend time here visiting historic sites.”

People are being asked to send letters of support ahead of two meetings - the first on March 7 and second on March 23 - that will discuss the future of the items.