Page last updated at 14:16 GMT, Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Iron age gold jewellery goes on display in Edinburgh


Iron Age treasure on display

A hoard of Iron Age jewellery found by a treasure hunter in Stirlingshire has gone on display in Edinburgh.

The four solid gold neck ornaments, or torcs, could be more than 2,000 years old.

They were found in a field by safari park manager David Booth, who was using a metal detector for the first time.

They are now owned by the Crown and have been placed on public view at the National Museum of Scotland for the next three weeks.

Fraser Hunter, the museum's curator, said "These four gold torcs are very beautiful, very displayable objects.

"They have many stories to tell."

iron age jewellery
They were found by an amateur treasure hunter in a field

Further excavations have been carried out in the field where the find was made.

No further gold has been discovered but archaeologists have found a timber-frame building, and they believe the site could have been some kind of shrine.

Mr Hunter said: "The torcs may have been an offering to an unknown god. This is not a normal domestic site."

Meanwhile, the future of the gold has yet to be decided.

It is currently under the care of the Treasure Trove Unit, which has lent it to the museum so the public can get an idea what the find is like.

David Caldwell of the unit said, after the display the next step would be to have the items properly valued.

Mr Caldwell said: ''We are going to bring in at least a couple of outside experts who can give at least two valuations.

"Then it's up to the Treasure Trove panel to decide on absolute valuation."

The museum which is allocated the gold will then have to pay that amount for the collection.

It is not clear yet how much the man who made the find will get.

At the time of the discovery David Booth said he knew it was old, but did not recognise the importance of his find.

Finders have no ownership rights and must report any objects to the Treasure Trove Unit, but they may receive a reward equal to the value.

The haul has already attracted a great deal of public interest and the display at the museum is likely to bring in many visitors.

The gold will be on public view until 10 February.

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