South Scotland

Galloway Viking treasure bids weighed up

Viking treasure Image copyright Dumfries and Galloway Council
Image caption A panel will recommend where the Galloway Viking hoard should end up

An expert panel has met to help decide where a Viking treasure hoard discovered in southern Scotland should be permanently housed.

Both Dumfries and Galloway Council and National Museums Scotland are bidding for the artefacts.

The Scottish Archaeological Finds Allocation Panel has met to discuss the hoard's future.

It will make a recommendation on where the treasure should go to the Queen's and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer.

The find was made by a metal detectorist in south west Scotland in 2014.

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

Their bid has been backed by a local campaign which delivered a 5,000 signature petition to the Scottish Parliament earlier this week.

They have both argued that the treasure should be returned to the region where it was found.

Key moments in the hoard's story

Image copyright Derek McLennan
Image caption The treasure was unearthed in 2014 by a metal detectorist in Dumfries and Galloway

It had been hoped a joint bid could be agreed with NMS but that has proved impossible.

NMS said it believed it had put forward a proposal which benefitted both organisations.

It would see some of the hoard go on display permanently in Kirkcudbright and, on occasions, the entire collection hosted in the town.

However, no agreement has been reached between the two bodies and it will now be up to the SAFAP to make a recommendation.

It assesses the applications according to a number of criteria with a presumption that they should be allocated locally unless a "convincing argument" for placing it elsewhere can be made.

Other factors taken into account include:

  • the national importance of the find
  • the need to keep a collection together in one place
  • special conservation requirements
  • the potential to maximise public access
  • research possibilities
  • security
  • the views of the finder

If an organisation bidding to host a hoard disagrees with the recommendation made by the panel it can make a case for it to be reconsidered.

That would result in the case being deferred for further consideration at a future meeting.

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