Page last updated at 17:00 GMT, Wednesday, 7 October 2009 18:00 UK

Minister backs region's gold call

A gold folded cross found buried beneath a Staffordshire field
The hoard will be displayed in Birmingham until 13 October

Calls for the UK's largest haul of Anglo-Saxon treasure to be kept in the West Midlands have been backed by the government.

The collection of 1,500 gold and silver pieces was found on a Staffordshire farm by a man using a metal detector.

Culture Minister Margaret Hodge told the Museum Association the hoard should be displayed where residents can "marvel" at their heritage.

Three councils have appealed for donations to keep the haul in the area.

The treasure was found last month by 55-year-old Terry Herbert, of Burntwood, Staffordshire.

'Seven-figure sum'

It will be on show at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery until 13 October before being assessed by the Treasure Valuation Committee.

The cache is worth "a seven-figure sum", according to experts.

Ms Hodge told the Museum Association conference in London that the hoard offers an incredible and completely unique insight into Anglo-Saxon times.

Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire and Birmingham councils are behind a campaign to keep the hoard in the region.

They plan to apply for grants from public bodies and private enterprise and appeal for public donations to buy the hoard from the Crown.

A joint acquisition between Staffordshire County Council, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery has been proposed.

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