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Last Updated: Wednesday January 13 2010 12:28 GMT

Campaign to keep treasure local

A sheet gold plaque that's part of the hoard and may have once been part of a shield belonging to an Anglo Saxon King

A big campaign's under way to keep the UK's largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold in the area where it was found.

Organisers want to raise £3.3m to buy the Staffordshire Hoard of up to 1,600 items, including jewellery and bits of swords, to stop it being split up.

The appeal to keep the collection in the region is being backed by TV historian Dr David Starkey who described the find as very important.

"Archaeological finds don't come any bigger than this," he said.

Terry Herbert unearthed the treasure in a field in Lichfield, in July 2009, using a metal detector.

Historian Dr David Starkey
Historian Dr David Starkey

Experts say the hoard's been buried for 1,400 years and is the largest discovery of its kind.

Dr Starkey said: "It transforms the history of the Midlands from some kind of obscure Brummie slum into the centre of England - but we're just at the very, very beginning.

"It's only six months since these things were found. They've barely been conserved. All the study, all the work has got to start right here."