Staffordshire Hoard: Three-year touring exhibition begins

Items of the Staffordshire hoard More than 1,500 items of gold and silver, embedded with jewels, were recovered

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A three-year touring exhibition about the discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard has been launched.

The hoard comprises more than 1,500 Anglo-Saxon items found by a metal detectorist buried on a farm in Staffordshire in July 2009.

The collection was subsequently valued at £3.3m and is now owned by Birmingham City Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

The exhibition has been paid for by £47,000 of Heritage Lottery Funding.

It will tour various community venues across the West Midlands for three years and "tell the story" of the discovery of the hoard using replica items and video footage.

Pieces of the original hoard are on display at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Lichfield Cathedral and Tamworth Castle.

Chris Copp, senior museums officer for the county council, said the exhibition aims to "keep up the profile" of the hoard.

Pectoral cross Historians believe the hoard could provide the last glimpse of Paganism and the first of Christianity

"We want to make people more aware of where they can see the hoard," he said.

"We can't use original pieces for this exhibition because it is geared up for community venues and they don't meet the security criteria or insurance costs.

"But the hoard is important to the county and attracts huge numbers of visitors."

He added a tour in 2011 of 40 original items of the hoard attracted up to 50,000 visitors, generating an extra £1m for the local economy.

A public appeal to purchase the hoard raised more than £900,000.

It includes items of gold and silver, embedded with precious stones and jewels, many of which date back to the 7th and 8th Centuries.

In late 2012, the same field was ploughed again and a further 91 items were uncovered.

Eighty-one of the 91 objects including a helmet piece, a cross-shaped mount and an eagle-shaped mount - were later declared treasure.

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