South Scotland

Kirkcudbright Viking treasure campaign stepped up

Viking treasure Image copyright Derek McLennan
Image caption The treasure was unearthed in Galloway in 2014

A council is stepping up its efforts to ensure a major Viking treasure hoard is displayed in a new art gallery in southern Scotland.

The items were discovered in Galloway in 2014 by a metal detectorist.

Dumfries and Galloway Council wants to see them given a permanent home in Kirkcudbright.

It is in talks with National Museums Scotland (NMS) about a joint bid to secure the hoard and now plans to lobby MSPs to bring the treasure to the area.

Image copyright Derek McLennan
Image caption Among the objects within the hoard is an early Christian cross thought to date from the 9th or 10th century

Councillors were given an update on the situation at a meeting this week.

The local authority has already put £100,000 towards securing the hoard but it has been estimated total costs could be up to £1m.

The final decision on where the artefacts end up lies with the Treasure Trove Panel.

The council said there remained "ambiguity" about how a partnership agreement with NMS might work.

Image copyright Dumfries and Galloway Council
Image caption Work is currently under way on a new art gallery in Kirkcudbright which could house the treasure

Talks are ongoing about how much of the hoard might appear in the new gallery being built in Kirkcudbright at any one time.

Responsibility for transporting the treasure between locations is also still under discussion.

Communities committee chairman Tom McAughtrie said the council would do everything it could to keep the treasure in the region.

Image copyright Treasure Trove Unit
Image caption The council wants to give the hoard a permanent home in the region

"We've always maintained that the hoard was found in Galloway, so it should remain in Galloway," he said.

"A partnership agreement would allow this to happen, but we're still in negotiations with our colleagues from NMS to reach a deal that's of utmost benefit to our council, and to the people of Kirkcudbright.

"This hoard will bring in thousands of visitors each year to the region, so it is vital we do all we can to secure some sort of hold on the hoard."

He said they were now set to start a lobbying campaign to try to secure the hoard.

A further update on the position is expected before the council in March.

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