ONE of Hampshire’s most important Anglo-Saxon treasures has gone on display in the Netherlands.

The Alton Buckle, discovered in the mid 1960s, and usually displayed in the town’s Curtis Museum, is spending the summer in the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden as part of its ‘Golden Middle Ages’ exhibition.

The showcase marks the fact that the Rijnsburg buckle was found in the Netherlands 100 years ago. It brings together more than 500 exquisite pieces from around the globe.

To fill the gap left by the Alton Buckle, a replica has been acquired and put in its place until early November when the genuine article will return.

The buckle was found in the grave of an Anglo-Saxon warrior with a sword, shield boss, spear heads and numerous small items.

The finds from Hampshire’s pagan Saxon cemeteries, together with those found during excavations of the Saxon settlements in Southampton and Winchester, are of international significance.

The buckle is part of Hampshire County Council’s archaeology collection, which is cared for by a team of specialists at Chilcomb House, Winchester.

Councillor Keith Chapman, county council Executive Member for Culture, Communities and Countryside, said: “The Alton Buckle is the finest piece of Anglo-Saxon craftsmanship to have been found in Hampshire, and is amongst the most beautiful and accomplished Anglo-Saxon pieces to have been found outside the famous Sutton Hoo burial. It is a privilege to lend it to the Dutch National Museum and I hope many people from around the world will take the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the Alton Buckle.”