The Galloway Hoard, described by experts as an unparalleled find of Viking-age gold, silver and jewelled treasures, has been allocated to National Museums Scotland by the Queen’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer (QLTR).
The museum now has six months to secure funding of £1.98 million in order to acquire the hoard for the nation.
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.
Dr Gordon Rintoul, director of National Museums Scotland, said: “The Galloway Hoard is of outstanding international significance and we are absolutely delighted that the Queen’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer (QLTR) has decided to allocate it to National Museums Scotland.
“We now have six months to raise £1.98 million to acquire this unique treasure for the nation and ensure it can be enjoyed by future generations both at home and abroad.”
The decision is a bitter blow to The Galloway Viking Hoard Campaign (GVH), which backed 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 in February: “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.”