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Nov 26, 2009
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Anglo-Saxon treasure worth over 3 million pounds

Nov 26, 2009

LONDON (AFP) — A record hoard of Anglo-Saxon treasure found in a field in Staffordshire was valued Thursday 26 Novembe at more than three million pounds, to be split equally between the man who found it and the owner of the land.

Photo: AFP

Experts on the government's independent valuation committee said the 1,400-year-old treasure, the largest and most valuable such hoard ever found, was worth 3,285,000 million pounds.

Unemployed metal detector enthusiast Terry Herbert made the find in July in Staffordshire, central England, uncovering the first of more than 1,500 gold and silver objects and some of the finest Anglo-Saxon craftsmanship ever seen.

Experts have said the discovery will completely change their understanding of Anglo-Saxon England.

Valuation committee chairman Professor Norman Palmer said the discovery was "extraordinary" and "the most valuable treasure find ever made."

The farmer who owns the field, Fred Johnson, told the BBC that he had yet to decide how to spend his half of the money.

He said he was unlikely to move house -- although this was not because he expected anything else to come out of his field.

"I am confident there's nothing else there now. But then again I was sure there wasn't anything there in the first place -- so who knows?" he said.

Johnson had previously said the find had soured his relationship with Herbert, 55, who has been metal detecting for the last 18 years and was using his trusty 14-year-old detector when he made the life-changing find.

"I'm not happy with Terry," Johnson was quoted as saying by The Times newspaper at the time, saying he had hoped to keep the find more low key. "I think it is more about the money for him," he added.

The hoard, which is currently on display at the British Museum in London, includes about five kilogrammes (11 pounds) of gold and 1.3 kilogrammes of silver, and many of the items are decorated with precious stones.

Experts say the quality indicates some of the items, which are thought to be from the seventh century, could have been owned by royalty.

The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the Potteries Museum in Stoke-on-Trent, the two nearest main museums to where the hoard was uncovered, have begun fundraising to buy the treasure from the state.

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