Loftus royal treasure brings thousands to Redcar museum

posted 18 Jun 2011, 07:15 by Paul Brayford   [ updated 18 Jun 2011, 07:26 ]

From BBC News Tees 17 June 2011

A collection of 7th Century treasure found in Loftus has atttracted thousands to Kirkleatham Museum in Redcar.

The artefacts were found between 2005 and 2007 at the only known Anglo-Saxon royal burial site in the north-east of England.

On show to the public for the first time, they have been hailed by archaeologists as some of the rarest discovered.

More than 7,000 people visited the exhibition in just two weeks.

The spectacular finds have been exhibited at the museum since the end of May.

They were uncovered by Teesside archaeologist Steve Sherlock, together with members of the Teesside Archaeological Society, at a 109-grave site at Street House, Loftus.

Mr Sherlock said: "This is a spectacular discovery that has attracted the imagination and attention of people from all over the country."

'Bed burial'

After their discovery the objects were declared treasure by a coroner and, following a debate in the House of Commons, they were allowed to remain in Redcar and purchased with the aid of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

Redcar & Cleveland Councillor Sheelagh Clarke, said: "The Saxon Princess exhibition is one of the most stunning attractions we have seen in the Borough for many, many years.

"To have so many people visit in a little over two weeks is fantastic and we look forward to welcoming many more."

Some of the pieces from the collection are associated with a rare bed burial in which a female body was laid out on a decorated wooden bed accompanied by fine gold jewellery.

The finds included a striking gold pendant - said to be "unparallelled" in the Anglo-Saxon world - which would have belonged to a princess, as well as glass beads, pottery, iron knives, belt buckles and other objects.

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