Leeds Museums and Galleries Object of the week- The West Yorkshire Hoard
The captivating story behind the West Yorkshire Hoard and its discovery surely makes it one of Leeds’s most fascinating and historic finds.
Unearthed by a metal detectorist on an unassuming patch of Leeds farm land between 2008 and 2009, the dazzling Anglo Saxon treasure has only recently gone on permanent display at Leeds City Museum.
Extraordinarily well preserved considering its age, the hoard is made up of seven objects, all believed to date from the seventh to 11th centuries.
Six of the objects in the hoard are high quality gold jewellery, which would only have been worn by people of exceptional wealth and very high status in Anglo Saxon society.
The most visually impressive item in the collection is a stunning gold ring with a lozenge-shaped bezel set with a garnet gem.
Three more beautiful gold rings, a gold brooch fragment, a gold ingot fragment and a lead spindle whorl, which was used to spin wool into yarn, complete the display.
Whilst the full story behind the hoard will forever remain a mystery, experts have speculated that it may have been loot, stashed by a thief who had returned to his buried gold to take the missing fragments from the ingot.
The artefacts were acquired by Leeds Museums and Galleries in 2012 following a fundraising appeal the previous year, along with grants from the Art Fund, the Friends of Leeds City Museums and The Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society.
The success of the appeal saved the hoard from auction and now the public can view the items in a new high tech digital display.
The most significant find of Anglo Saxon jewellery ever in the Leeds area, the British Museum's Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) also named it among the leading finds in the UK in the last two decades.
Councillor Brian Selby, Leeds City Council’s lead member for museums and galleries, said:
“Discovering real buried treasure must have been an incredibly exciting moment for this metal detectorist and we’re lucky that having the hoard on display allows us all to share that experience.
“The hoard is such a significant find and it’s a genuine privilege to have it here in Leeds.”