South Scotland

Galloway Viking treasure stance 'disappointing'

Viking treasure Image copyright Dumfries and Galloway Council
Image caption The fate of the hoard is due to be discussed later this month

National Museums Scotland has voiced disappointment at a council's stance over their bids to house a Viking treasure hoard.

The Dumfries and Galloway authority said this week it was no closer to agreement over the items' future.

A spokeswoman for NMS said it believed it had put forward a "mutually beneficial and positive proposal".

The Scottish Archaeological Finds Allocation Panel (SAFAP) is to meet to discuss the hoard's future on 23 March.

The treasure was discovered by a metal detectorist in Galloway in 2014.

Dumfries and Galloway Council wants to house it in a new art gallery being built in Kirkcudbright.

NMS is also bidding for the artefacts and a spokeswoman said it had been in talks with the local authority since last summer.

"We have proposed a collaborative approach which guarantees the long-term display of a significant and representative portion, and, for specific periods of time, all of the Galloway hoard in Kirkcudbright Art Gallery," she said.

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

"It is disappointing that the council has not accepted what we believe is a mutually-beneficial and positive proposal."

She said the hoard was of "considerable national and international significance" and they had applied to acquire it "on behalf of the nation".

"As part of our proposals, NMS would take on the significant obligations of ensuring it is conserved, fully researched and appropriately cared for in the long term," she said.

"The hoard would also be shared widely with the public through display in Dumfries and Galloway, across Scotland and the rest of the UK and internationally."

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has urged the Scottish government to intervene to allow the hoard to be housed in Kirkcudbright.

'Market properly'

"The council are right to be sceptical over any offer from NMS," he said.

"When they closed the Museum of Costume at Shambellie House we were promised all sorts from them in terms of local exhibitions and that hasn't really materialised."

He said it was up to the government to show that NMS was interested in "more than the central belt".

"Having a display of such international importance permanently on display in the region will allow us to market the exhibition properly, which you won't be able to do if it is left up to NMS to decide if and when any part of the hoard is displayed locally," he said.

"Displaying the hoard in Kirkcudbright would also be a huge boost to the local economy by attracting more visitors which you simply wouldn't get if the hoard is on display in Edinburgh, lost among the many other displays".

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