Page last updated at 20:01 GMT, Monday, 5 October 2009 21:01 UK

Campaign to keep treasure hoard

Gold Anglo-Saxon artefacts found in Staffordshire
The hoard is the largest Anglo-Saxon collection of gold found in the UK

Three councils have started an appeal for donations to keep the UK's largest haul of Anglo-Saxon treasure in the West Midlands region.

The collection of 1,500 gold and silver pieces, which may date from the 7th Century, is worth "a seven-figure sum", according to experts.

It was found last month by 55-year-old Terry Herbert using a metal detector on farmland in Staffordshire.

Stoke, Staffordshire and Birmingham councils are behind the campaign.

They will be applying for grants from public bodies and private enterprise and appealing for donations from the public.

Up to 37,000 people have seen the collection, which is on show at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery for another week.

Secret location

It will then be sent to the British Museum for valuation.

The discovery includes about 5kg of gold and 2.5kg of silver, making it far bigger than the Sutton Hoo discovery in 1939 when 1.5kg of Anglo-Saxon gold was found near Woodbridge in Suffolk.

After valuation, the money will be passed on to Mr Herbert and the landowner.

The exact location of the find has not been revealed.

Councillor Martin Mullaney from Birmingham City Council said it was culturally important to keep the treasure in the region, in what was part of the Kingdom of Mercia in Anglo-Saxon times.

"It's very important to keep it in the Midlands, on a number of levels - the economic side and the cultural side," he said.

"It makes people realise the depth of history in the region.

"We are part of Mercia, one of the most important and biggest Anglo- Saxon kingdoms in Britain."

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