A precious hoard of golden treasure that lay in a Leeds field for more than a thousand years could be sold off unless museum-goers help raise the cash needed to keep it in the city.
Back in 2009, the YEP exclusively reported on the incredible discovery of the stash of Saxon gold, found by a treasure hunter using nothing but his trusty metal detector on a stretch of local farmland.
Now heritage chiefs in Leeds are in a desperate race against time to raise the money needed to put the ‘West Yorkshire Hoard’ on permanent display.
The hoard, the most significant find of Anglo-Saxon jewellery ever discovered in the Leeds area, is made up of seven pieces of jewellery dating from the seventh to 11th centuries.
The most spectacular is a gold ring with a lozenge-shaped bezel set with a garnet gem.
Leeds City Museum will have the treasure on loan from November 3-15. But bosses need to raise around £170,000 before November 15 to secure the find permanently for Leeds.
The Friends of Leeds City Museums and The Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society have launched a joint campaign to try and raise the money to secure the hoard before the deadline passes and it goes to a public auction.
Funding has already been secured from both societies as well as the Art Fund, but they say more support is needed.
Leeds City Council curator of archaeology Katherine Baxter said: “The acquisition of these finds will allow exciting new stories to be told about the Leeds area and its early medieval development in a national and international context.
“There are so many mysteries surrounding these objects: who did they belong to? Why were they buried? Why did nobody return to retrieve them? This is what makes the West Yorkshire Hoard so intriguing.”
To find out more information and to make a donation to the campaign, visit the Friends of Leeds City Museums website at: www.friendsofleedscitymuseums.org