Sunday 24 October 2021

Hereford Hoard Hopes

Museum without a future will be "saved" by stolen hoard? That's what Bill Tanner says, vacantly glorifying treasure hunting that obviously they don't talk about enough in journalism-school ('The incredible discovery that gives Hereford Museum a future', Gloucestershire Live 23rd oct 2021). The byline is equally vacuuous: "Viking treasure find could change the course of history [...] Coins found in a field could change the course of history". Yeah, right. Coins in a field reverse global warming, make the seas plastic-free, the virus go away and stem the rising tide of nationalism. Yes, Mr Tanner?

Viking 'bling' with the potential to change perceptions of the past could mean Hereford's long-awaited new museum has a future. Work is underway on a fundraising strategy that brings one of Herefordshire's most significant historic finds home - strengthening the business case for a museum worthy of the county's heritage treasures. Right now, the Herefordshire Hoard - a cache of jewellery and coins dating from the Viking era and hidden near Leominster for more than 1,000 years - is in the British Museum awaiting evaluation. Once valued, Herefordshire Council will have the opportunity to acquire the hoard and display it for "the benefit of the people of Herefordshire." Some estimates suggest the hoard is worth up to £3 million, others even more.
This is of course the Eye near Leominster Hoard that has been in the news recently. The coins that Mr Tanner finds so exciting are of Alfred of Wessex together with Ceolwulf II of Mercia and "offer a fresh perspective [...] [on] England stirring toward a single united kingdom" ("Vorgeschichte, Eine Hervorragend Nationale Wissenschaft"?). Mr Tanner is not unaware of the context of discovery: "
Most of the hoard is missing, with two metal detectorists and two coin sellers convicted of charges related to the theft and concealment of the 2015 find. Once the hoard has been valued, Herefordshire Council's fundraising will begin in earnest. The council says the eventual intention is to have hoard displayed at Hereford Museum as the single most important treasure find in Herefordshire, a discovery of such significance that it is unlikely to be repeated for many years to come - if ever.
Yes, this theft has totally removed any possibility of understanding the archaeological context this unique find was deposited and lay in until along come two greedy detectorists.
Why is it being valued"? There is no need to value it since nobody should be getting a reward. The landowner failed to secure this piece of the national heritage from being stolen. The reward is entirely discretionary. Enough damage has been done to the nation's heritage in this case (a large part of the stolen hoard seems to be still missing) and nobody should be profiting from this scandal. The money should instead go to the museum that should immediately be offered what is left of this group, to publish the material, and carry out an excavation to establish the context of deposition.  

1 comment:

Unknown said...

You should take a look at the Metal Detecting finds sale site's on Facebook. Lot's of items on these site's Saling items with no PAS records. One group will ban you and block you if you ask for and PAS records to go with the items.

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.