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UK treasure hunters jailed for stealing Viking-era hoard

LONDON — Two amateur British treasure-hunters were sentenced Friday to long prison terms for stealing a hoard of 1,100-year-old Anglo-Saxon coins and jewelry valued at millions of pounds (dollars).

Experts say the hoard — much of which is still missing — could shed new light on a period when Saxons were battling the Vikings for control of England. The trove is thought to have been buried in the late 9th century by a member of a Viking army that was being pushed east across England by an alliance of Saxon forces.

The collection of gold and silver jewelry and up to 300 coins was dug up in 2015 on farmland in central England by metal detectorists George Powell and Layton Davies. They were convicted this week of failing to report the hoard, as required by law.

Instead, they tried to sell some of the bounty through antiquities dealers. Some of the jewelry and about 30 coins are all that have been recovered.

Prosecutor Kevin Hegarty said the hoard’s value had been estimated at between $3.9 million to $15.4 million and added that a find of “immense archaeological, historical and academic value” had been lost to the nation.

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