Silverdale silver Viking hoard declared treasure

Viking silver coin
Image caption The hoard includes coins bearing the name of a previously-unknown Viking ruler of northern England

A hoard of Viking silver found in Lancashire has been declared as treasure by a coroner.

The hoard of 201 coins and pieces of jewellery was found in September near to Silverdale by metal detector enthusiast Darren Webster, 39.

It was declared treasure by Lancashire deputy coroner Simon Jones at a hearing in Lancaster.

Lancashire Finds Liaison Officer Dot Boughton said the hoard was "very significant".

Lancaster City Museum has said it would attempt to keep the hoard in the area once it received an official valuation early in the new year.

The hoard has been examined by the British Museum, which found it contained coins bearing the name of a previously-unknown Viking ruler of northern England.

It also includes 10 complete arm rings, two finger rings, six bossed brooch fragments, a fine wire braid and 141 fragments of chopped-up arm rings and ingots, known as hacksilver.

After Mr Webster reported his find to Ms Boughton, she identified it as Viking silver from the early medieval period, before passing it on for analysis.

'Only Viking pieces'

She said finds of Viking silver were "extremely rare in this area, so this is very exciting".

"In the six years I've been doing this job, these are the only Viking pieces reported to me," she said.

"This hoard is very significant for our understanding of the Viking presence in the North West."

The designation of the hoard as treasure means that a local museum has the opportunity to bid for it.

Mike Calvert from Lancashire County Council, which runs Lancaster City Museum, said he was very happy with the coroner's verdict.

"I'm delighted that the coroner has made this decision which may make it possible to keep the Silverdale Hoard here in Lancashire, where people can enjoy it for generations to come," he said.

Any proceeds of a sale will be divided equally between the landowner and Mr Webster.

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