Treasure hunter hopes hoard will go stay near home

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A man who found a hoard of Viking silver that had lain undetected for hundreds of years has described his discovery as “lucky”.

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.

The 39-year-old stone mason from Lancashire made the discovery in September on land near Silverdale. He 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.”

Mr Webster found the hoard buried in a lead pot about 16 inches underground.

He said it was “a very strange feeling” knowing he had found something that had lain undiscovered for hundreds of years.

He said: “Some people search all their life and don’t find anything like that. I was very lucky to find what I found.

“The first thing I discovered was the lead pot it was contained in.

“When I lifted that out of the hole that’s when I noticed silver falling from the pot. That’s when you realise you’ve found something.”

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 dates from a time when the Anglo-Saxons were trying to take control of the north of the country from the Vikings and includes a coin that is thought to refer to a previously unknown Viking ruler in northern England.

A coroner will decide later this week whether it qualifies as treasure. If it does, an independent committee will value it and any money raised will be divided equally between Mr Webster and the landowner.

Mr Webster said he would “love” the collection to go to his local museum in Lancaster.