New home for Leeds’ Anglo Saxon gold

The Anglo Saxon gold found in a Leeds field by a metal detectorist
The Anglo Saxon gold found in a Leeds field by a metal detectorist
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A spectacular hoard of Anglo Saxon gold unearthed by a metal detectorist in a Leeds field will take pride of place in a new digital exhibition at Leeds City Museum this week.

The gold will be housed in new bespoke cases and mounts, with new interpretation panels and a touchscreen display that will allow visitors to examine the pieces in 3D.

Until now, the exact location of the incredible find has remained a closely guarded secret. But for the first time ever, the museum will also be able to reveal whereabouts in Leeds the discovery was made when the exhibition launches on November 10.

Six of the objects in the hoard, which was discovered in two stages in 2008 and 2009, are gold jewellery dating from the seventh to 11th centuries.

The most visually striking is a stunning gold ring with a lozenge-shaped bezel set with a garnet gem.

Completing the display are three more beautiful gold rings, a gold brooch fragment, a gold ingot fragment and a lead spindle whorl, which was used to spin wool into yarn.

The hoard has been called the most significant find of Anglo Saxon jewellery ever in the Leeds area and in 2012, the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) named it among the leading finds in the UK in the last two decades.

The artefacts were acquired by Leeds Museums and Galleries in 2012 following a fundraising appeal the previous year, along with grants from the Art Fund, the Friends of Leeds City Museums and The Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society.

The success of the appeal saved the hoard from public auction, and the artefacts have since been on temporary display.

But now, thanks to a grant from the Art Fund through their Treasure Plus programme, supported by The Headley Trust, museum visitors will be able to fully experience one of the city’s most important discoveries.

Katherine Baxter, Leeds Museums and Galleries curator of archaeology, said: “The West Yorkshire Hoard is among the most beautiful, significant and intriguing finds ever to be discovered in Leeds and a lot of hard work has gone into ensuring we can display it in a way that captures just how important it is to the city.

“It’s also very exciting that we will be able to reveal where in Leeds this incredible treasure was found for the very first time.”

Councillor Brian Selby, Leeds City Council’s lead member for museums and galleries, said: “The story of the West Yorkshire Hoard is fascinating and picturing the discovery of such a stunning piece of history right here in Leeds really captures the imagination.

“Since its discovery, the Leeds Museums and Galleries team have worked tirelessly, firstly to ensure the hoard stayed in Leeds and now to make sure it is given the sort of prominence and profile it deserves. This display is a credit to them and a jewel in the crown of the museum’s collection.”

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