Salisbury Museum is hoping to host a remarkable hoard of Bronze Age jewellery in a new gallery set to open this summer.
The find, from the Wylye valley near Warminster, has now been officially declared treasure and the museum has registered its intention to acquire the 41 objects dating from the Middle Bronze Age (from 1400 to 1250BC) to display in the Wessex Gallery of Archaeology.
It is technically termed an 'Ornament Horizon Hoard', meaning it contains jewellery rather than tools. Found in early November 2012 by metal-detectorists, the jewellery includes bracelets, torcs (neck rings), ribbed bracelets and a quoit headed pin measuring 15½in (39.5cm) long.
A very unusual torc, which was cast rather than twisted, is another star piece and shows the high level of craftsmanship and skill from the Bronze Age.
The Treasure Valuation Committee will now set about determining the market value and Salisbury Museum will begin raising funds to acquire it. The British Museum have also declared an interest, should Salisbury fail to acquire it.
"It's appropriate for the Wylye Hoard to be housed at Salisbury Museum, because it was found nearby," said Adrian Green, director of the museum. "The British Museum are interested because it's a hoard of really rare and beautiful pieces."
If Salisbury Museum is successful, the hoard will be put on temporary display in the Wessex Gallery of Archaeology. The gallery launch date has not been finalised but the museum told ATG it hopes that will be in June.
"The hoard is outstanding, and in beautiful condition," said Richard Henry, finds liaison officer for Wiltshire. "Not only is it a very significant addition to this type of hoard, it's also one of the largest with a wide variety of ornaments."
The metal-detectorists did not leave the hoard in situ when it was discovered. Unfortunately, this meant that archaeologists who subsequently excavated the site were denied valuable clues as to the deposition and the structure of the hoard.