Staffordshire Hoard team wins award

By on 02/03/2010 in News

mid_skyscraper_120x600_3Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Sport, Cllr Martin Mullaney, today congratulated the Staffordshire Hoard team after it scooped a top archaeology award.

The team that recovered the Anglo-Saxon treasure, including staff from Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, have won the Current Archaeology award for 'The Best Rescue Dig of the Year, 2010'.

And Cllr Mullaney believes it is a richly deserved accolade. He said: “This was a team effort from day one and everyone involved deserves credit. A number of organisations have played a part and things have run smoothly - from the excavation right the way through to the fundraising campaign.”

Current Archaeology is Britain's best selling archaeology magazine. The award, sponsored by Andante Travel, was given on the basis of votes cast by its readers, and was presented at the Archaeology 2010 Conference, held at the British Museum on 27 February.

The award was accepted by Dr Kevin Leahy, National Advisor, Early Medieval Metalwork, on behalf of the project. 

On accepting the accolade, which was presented at the ceremony by Professor Brian Fagan of the University of California, Santa Barbara, Dr Leahy said: “This was very much a joint award, to be shared by the many people and organisations who had worked hard on the project.”

Dr Leahy also commented on how smoothly the project has gone so far, and paid tribute to the many people and organisations involved. In particular he mentioned:

  • Terry Herbert, the metal detectorist who discovered the Hoard, and Fred Johnson, on whose land it was found; both of whom gave invaluable support during the excavation.
  • Duncan Slarke, then the Portable Antiquities Scheme's Finds Liaison Officer for Staffordshire and the West Midlands, to whom the hoard was first reported.
  • Staff at Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery and at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent, for their unfailing support.
  • English Heritage, and particularly Bill Klemperer, for moral and financial support.
  • Staffordshire County Council, who met the costs of the on-site security and particularly Stephen Dean and Ian Wykes who monitored the excavation.
  • Birmingham Archaeology, who oversaw the actual excavation, which took place despite adverse weather conditions. This was overseen by Alex Jones with the work on site being directed by Bob Burrows.
  • The Inquest on the find was carried out with great efficiency by Mr Andrew Haigh, HM Coroner for Staffordshire.
  • Dr Roger Bland, Head of the Department of Portable Antiquities and Treasure who has worked tirelessly on the project.

The finds were catalogued by Dr Kevin Leahy, National Advisor, Early Medieval Metalwork, assisted by his wife, Dianne.

Dr Leahy added, ”Finally, thanks must go to the 40,000 people who queued for up to five hours to see part of the hoard during the short time it was on show in Birmingham and the tens of thousands who are queuing to see it now at the Potteries Museum. They are telling us that they care.”

The Staffordshire Hoard was first discovered by metal detectorist Terry Herbert in a field near Lichfield, Staffordshire in July 2009. Containing over 1,500 pieces, mainly gold and many inlaid with precious stones, the Hoard was valued at £3.3.m on 26 November 2009 and declared the most valuable treasure found on British soil.

Since 13 January 2010 independent charity The Art Fund has been spearheading the campaign to save the Staffordshire Hoard for the West Midlands. The campaign has until 17 April to raise the £3.3m necessary to acquire it jointly for the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent and Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. To date, the fundraising total has reached over £1m. To donate please visit www.artfund.org/hoard or call 0844 415 4004.

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