New campaign backs Galloway Viking treasure bid

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Viking treasureImage source, Derek McLennan
Image caption,
The treasure was unearthed in 2014 by a metal detectorist

A new campaign is backing a bid to see a Viking treasure hoard discovered in Dumfries and Galloway go on display in the region.

The Galloway Viking Hoard Campaign (GVHC) wants to see the items put in a new Kirkcudbright art gallery.

Dumfries and Galloway Council is attempting to secure the treasure for the region.

The GVHC said it was concerned a bid by National Museums Scotland could see the items end up in Edinburgh.

The hoard was discovered in the region in 2014 by a metal detectorist.

Image source, Dumfries and Galloway Council
Image caption,
Dumfries and Galloway Council wants to host the hoard in the new Kirkcudbright gallery

The final decision on where the artefacts are diplayed lies with the Treasure Trove Panel.

Cathy Agnew, who chairs the campaign which launched this week, said: "This is a time for Scotland to take the lead.

"The Galloway Viking hoard is quite extraordinary and should have pride of place in a specially created exhibition space in the new Kirkcudbright art gallery.

"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."

She said the collection could be a "powerful magnet" to bring in visitors.

'International significance'

David Devereux, GVHC vice chair, said: "Some of the items in the hoard are of breathtaking beauty and could become icons for the region, spurring people across the world to discover more about its distinctive past - and the people, lives, cultures and kingdoms that existed before Scotland was born."

Campaign supporters have been urged to send letters of support ahead of two meetings taking place in coming weeks.

The first is a meeting of the council's communities committee on 7 March that will decide how best to take forward the local authority's bid.

The second is a meeting of the Scottish Archaeological Finds Allocation Panel (SAFAP) which is due to discuss the hoard's future on 23 March.

National Museums Scotland has described the find as of "considerable national and international significance".

It said that if it acquired the hoard it would save it for the nation and ensure it was seen by "people from Scotland, the rest of the UK and internationally".

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