Britain's biggest Viking hoard secured by National Museum of Scotland

The National Museum of Scotland has secured Britain's biggest hoard of Viking-age treasures after raising nearly £2 million in the space of five months.

The Galloway Hoard was discovered buried in a field by a metal detectorist three years ago.

UK Government funding has helped meet half the cost of acquiring the Galloway Hoard after an approach for help from a "fund of last resort."

The National Heritage Memorial Fund, which was set up to prevent national treasures from being "lost forever," has agreed to pay £1m.

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It is understood the hoard would have been put up for auction had the fund not provided what was described as "the final step" towards the fundraising target.

The Scottish Government and the Art Fund are among the other funders of the acquisition, which has been confirmed months after the hoard was allocated to the museum by the Crown.

The collection of gold, silver and jewelled treasures was buried at the beginning of the 10th century and uncovered by metal detectorist Derek McLennan in a field in Dumfries and Galloway three year ago.

A selection of the treasures, which were believed to have been buried at the start of the 10th century, have been on display at the museum for the last five months to bolster the fundraising campaign.

However it will be another fwo years before a major exhibition is staged at the Edinburgh attraction - the busiest in Scotland - after a full conservation and research project is carried out.

Museum chiefs have pledged to then take the hoard out on tour, including to Kirkcudbright, where local campaigners had been trying to secure the treasures for a permanent display in a new gallery rather than have them go to the National Museum.

Dr Gordon Rintoul, director of the National Museum, said: "We have been overwhelmed by the response from the general public who have got behind our campaign to 'Save the Hoard.'

"Now we look forward to starting work on conserving and researching the hoard to unlock its secrets."