Leeds hoard named among top historical UK finds of last 20 years

Published : 18/07/2012 00:00

Leeds hoard named among top historical UK finds of last 20 years

A hoard of historic golden treasure found in the Leeds area which dates back to the seventh century has this week been named among the top 50 archaeological finds discovered in Britain by members of the public over the last 20 years.

The find, which has become known as the ‘West Yorkshire Hoard’ made up of seven objects of Anglo-Saxon jewellery, can be seen on display in Leeds City Museum after it was secured for the city after a successful fundraising drive by The Friends of Leeds City Museums and The Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society last year.

And this week the collection, which was discovered in 2008 and 2009 in a location which cannot be identified in order to protect the site, has been named by experts working for The British Museum's Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) among the leading finds in the UK of the last two decades.

The collection will feature in tonight’s episode of ‘Britain's Secret Treasures’ on ITV1, which is counting down the list of the top 50 UK finds based on archaeological and historical significance, as well as aesthetic and narrative appeal.

Six of the objects in the hoard are gold jewellery dating from the seventh to 11th centuries, with the most spectacular being a stunning gold ring with a lozenge-shaped bezel set with a garnet gem which is in near-perfect condition.

The objects were discovered in the same location in two stages with the first five items of jewellery found in 2008 before an additional gold ring and spindle whorl were discovered the following year. No information is known as to the original owner or how the objects came to be in the spot where they were found.

The hoard is highly significant on a local and national scale, indicating the presence of high status inhabitants and the gold rings sit alongside the Leeds Parish Church cross as signs of an Anglo-Scandinavian identity in the Leeds area.  Along with other finds like The Staffordshire Hoard, the collection also helps redraw the map of power in early Medieval England.

Head of collections for Leeds museums and galleries Camilla Nichol said:

“The West Yorkshire Hoard is a fascinating story and it is fantastic that it has now recognised as a nationally-important find. The hoard is proudly on display in Leeds City Museum as part of the incredible Leeds museums’ collection, so for anyone who has not seen it yet it is well worth a visit.”

To find out more about Leeds City Museum, visit the website at www.leeds.gov.uk/museumsandgalleries/Pages/Leeds-City-Museum.aspx


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde,
Senior communications officer,
Leeds City Council, Tel 0113 247 5472
Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk