23/02/2017
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Launch of the Galloway Viking Hoard Campaign

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A new campaign has launched this week, inviting the public to back an appeal for one of Scotland's finest Viking hoards to be displayed close to where it was found, in Dumfries & Galloway.

The Galloway Viking Hoard Campaign (GVH), is backing Dumfries and Galloway Council’s (DGC) proposals for the Viking finds to 'have their permanent or regular home' in a specially designed exhibition space at the new Kirkcudbright Art Gallery.

The Galloway Viking Hoard

The hoard was discovered at an undisclosed location in Galloway by a metal detectorist in 2014 and had been deliberately buried over 1,000 years ago.

It includes more than 100 gold and silver objects, some already old when they were hidden. Among them are a unique gold bird-shaped pin, an enamelled Christian cross, decorated Anglo-Saxon brooches, armbands and an engraved Carolingian silver vessel. The items come from across Europe – there are even fragments of Byzantine silk.

The GVH campaign

GVH supporters have launched the campaign in response to another bid, which aims to have the hoard displayed at National Museums Scotland, where the items would be displayed in Edinburgh, at the National Museum of Scotland.

GVH campaign chair Cathy Agnew 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.

“Having a collection of this kind in Dumfries and Galloway would act as a powerful magnet to bring in visitors from all over the country and overseas, benefiting the local economy by encouraging them to spend time here visiting historic sites."

Campaign supporters have been urged to send letters of support ahead of two crucial meetings taking place in coming weeks. The first is a meeting of the DGC Communities Committee on 7 March that will decide how best to take forward the council’s bid. The second is a meeting of the Scottish Archaeological Finds Allocation Panel (SAFAP) which is due to decide the hoard’s future on 23 March.

If the hoard is given a home in Kirkcudbright, GVH has said it would be 'keen to see agreements reached for it to be displayed at other times in the NMS in Edinburgh and beyond'.

National Museums Scotland statement

A National Museums Scotland spokeswoman said: 'We have been in dialogue with Dumfries and Galloway Council regarding the acquisition of the Galloway Hoard for several months now and are continuing our discussions.
 
'We have also submitted an application to Treasure Trove to acquire the hoard for the benefit of the nation. The hoard is of considerable national and international significance and acquisition by National Museums Scotland would save it for the nation in the long term and ensure that the hoard is seen by people from Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, the rest of the UK and internationally.'

(Finds images copyright Dumfries & Galloway Council)

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