Viking hoard ruled to be treasure
Published 16/12/2011 | 17:17
A hoard of Viking treasure buried for a thousand years has given an early Christmas present to one lucky metal detector - who will get half the money when it goes on sale, a court has ruled.
Darren Webster got his metal detector out in a field near his home when he had an hour to spare one day, and 20 minutes later was digging up silver coins and jewellery that had lain undiscovered since the mists of time.
The 39-year-old stone mason, from Lancashire, said the discovery he made in September on land around Silverdale in north Lancashire had been "lucky".
On Friday, coroner Simon Jones sitting at Preston Coroners Court officially declared the find as treasure and Mr Webster will now share half the proceeds of the sale with the landowner.
An independent committee will value the find early in the new year and the treasure may be bought by museums.
The Vale of York Viking find in 2007 eventually realised more than £1 million, though it is bigger than Mr Webster's find.
Outside court Mr Webster said: "I really don't know what it could be worth until the appropriate valuation. Whatever it is, it's going to be a nice bonus, it's a good thing."
Experts believe the hoard, which includes 27 coins, 10 arm rings, two finger rings, 14 ingots, six brooch fragments and a fine wire braid which may have been worn as a necklace, could have been buried by a Viking warrior before he went into battle.
It also includes coins from the time of Alfred the Great - who reigned 871 to 899 - and from the Viking kingdom of Northumbria.
Mr Webster said: "The minute I found it I knew what it was or had a very good idea what it was. The coins, the bracelets, I knew it was possibly Viking, more than likely Viking."