An historic hoard of artefacts from the Viking age, found in a Scottish field, has been saved for the nation.

Now experts at the National Museum of Scotland, which has secured ownership of the Galloway Hoard by raising £1.98m, are to spent around two years uncovering the secrets of the cache, which was found by a metal detectorist in 2014.

The museum (NMS) hope to tour part or the whole of the hoard to locations around Scotland, and also stage an exhibition in Dumfries and Galloway, where it was found.

The money raised goes to the Queen's and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer, who passes the sum onto the detectorist, Derek McLennan.

The NMS raised the money with help from 1500 donations to a public appeal, as well as £1m from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), and £150,000 from the Scottish Government and £400,000 from the Art Fund.

The public campaign, including donors, trusts and the NMS own funds, raised £432,200.

The hoard has been described as the richest collection of rare Viking age object yet found in the UK or Ireland.

It comprises in excess of 100 gold, silver and other items from the Viking Age.

It was buried at the beginning of the tenth century, although some of the items within the Hoard date from an earlier period.

The bulk is a hoard of silver jewellery and ingots.

However, it also contains precious metal and jewelled items including a rare gold ingot, a gold bird-shaped pin and a decorated silver-gilt cup of Continental or Byzantine origin.

It also contains a cross which depicts four designs representing the authors of the four authors of the Gospels.

Dr Gordon Rintoul, director of National Museums Scotland said: "I am hugely grateful to the National Heritage Memorial Fund for its generous grant of £1 million.

"This contribution has provided the final step to reaching our target and enabled us to save the Hoard for the nation.

"In the last six months we have been overwhelmed by the response from the general public who have got behind our campaign to ‘Save the Hoard’.

“I would like to say a personal thank you to everyone who has generously donated to the Campaign, without them this incredible achievement would not have been possible."

John Glen, UK Government Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism said: "The Galloway Hoard is an incredible collection that has given us a deeper understanding of the history of the Viking Age in Scotland.

"As an unparalleled find of global significance, I am thrilled that the National Heritage Memorial Fund has helped save it for the nation."

A selection of objects from the hoard is currently on display at the National Museum of Scotland until 29 October.