THE Herefordshire Hoard is set to join the displays at the JORVIK Viking Centre in York in February, when the unique collection of coins and jewellery will take pride of place in one of the central display cabinets within the world-famous museum. 

Discovered by detectorists in 2015 near Eye, Leominster, and comprising 29 silver coins, one silver ingot, a beast's head gold bracelet, a rock crystal pendant and a gold ring, it has been loaned to York Archaeology.

It would have been buried around AD 878, and represents the first evidence of the Great Viking Army in Herefordshire.

Instead of reporting the find, the detectorists sold most items to dealers with the intention of keeping the proceeds for themselves.

When this was discovered, they were prosecuted and sentenced to imprisonment in 2019, with a few of the beautiful objects and some gold and silver coins then recovered after an appeal backed by the likes of former Time Team presenter Sir Tony Robinson.

In late December 2022 the two men jailed for the theft were ordered to pay sums of over £600,000 each or face additional jail sentences. 

One has paid and the other has not. This money was intended to offer partial reparation for their act which deprived the public of items of considerable national historic importance.

Christine McDonnell, head of collections for York Archaeology said of the loan of the items: ““We are incredibly grateful to be able to share this with visitors to JORVIK Viking Centre. We will never know why these precious objects were buried – perhaps as a way of keeping them ‘safe’ as the owner went off to battle – but they reveal new information about politics in the south in the late 9th century.

"Some of the coins demonstrate an alliance between the kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex at a time when the unification of England was taking shape.”

Damian Etheraads, Herefordshire Council’s museum and art gallery lead, said: “The Herefordshire Hoard is an amazing collections of objects which throw light on a little known but significant episode in English history.

"Loaning objects like the Hoard to other museums is an important way of raising the profile of Herefordshire and encourage people to take a new look at the area.

"We are looking forward to developing new partnerships and loaning more of our amazing collections over the coming years as we redevelop Hereford Museum and Art Gallery.  

"We are grateful to our supporters and funders the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Art Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation, the Headley Trust, Herefordshire Museum Service Support Group and individual givers who made it possible to acquire the Hoard as well as to the JORVICK Viking Centre for sharing its story.”

There will be an opportunity for people see the Hoard in January 2024 before it goes on loan.

Select objects will be on display in the Temporary Library at the Museum Resource and Learning Centre, Friars Street, Hereford between 9 and 17 January 2024 during opening hours. There is no need to book.