By Robert Harland
A spectacular hoard of Viking jewelry has been sold to UK museums for one
million British pounds (Php80m).
The jewels, which appear to have been buried for more than 1,000 years, were found in a field in the north of England by a father and his son using metal detectors.
David and Andrew Whelan uncovered the treasure, which dates back to the 10th Century, in field in the city of Harrogate in the north of England.
In the United Kingdom if treasure is found, the finder is legally obliged to report it to the police within 14 days. They will then pass it on to the coroner who will decide whether it is defined as treasure.
There is a reward system in place to encourage the reporting, provided the finders were not trespassing when they found the treasure.
If a museum wants to acquire your treasure, the finder is usually given the market value price.
The Viking hoard was sent to Geoff Fell, the local coroner in Harrogate who ruled it was indeed treasure. He said this was one of the most exciting cases he had ever ruled on.
“I’m delighted that such an important Viking hoard has been discovered in our part of the country. We are extremely proud of our Viking heritage in this area,” he said.
It was then transferred to the British Museum in London, which said the discovery was “phenomenal”.
“It’s a fascinating find, it’s the largest of its type of over 150 years,” said Gareth Williams, an expert at the British Museum who examined the items.
The highlight of the collection is an intricately carved silver cup, estimated to be worth more than 200,000 British pounds (Php16m). It contains 617coins and various silver fragments, ingots and rings. Some of the pieces were from as far away as Afghanistan.
The British Museum said the loot was hidden sometime after the fall of the Viking Kingdom of Northumbria in 927. Vikings often buried their wealth in times of trouble.
After a major fund-raising campaign the treasure was purchased by the British Museum and the York Museum Trust in the city of York.
Finders David and Andrew Whelan said: ‘”The find went far beyond our wildest dreams. We enjoy the walk through the countryside and we’ll continue to hunt for more treasure on weekends.”
The pair will share the one million British pounds with the owners of the field.
The hoard will be unveiled to the public at the Yorkshire Museum this week.