Thursday, 24 September 2009

The Staffordshire Hoard

Items from the hoard, all images seen here

I woke up really early this morning and turned on Radio 4 for the news hoping it wouldn't be too dour and depressing to start the day. Instead this amazing and enchanting story came through about a major archaeological find, an Anglo Saxon hoard found in a field in Staffordshire over the summer. About 5kg of gold and 2.5 kg of silver artifacts, it is larger even than the Sutton Hoo Ship Burial found in Suffolk just before the outbreak of World War II and of equal or greater significance.

I have spent many hours on many visits to the British Museum to see the Sutton Hoo exhibits which have always intrigued me, so I'm really excited to watch the story of this new find unfold. It seems to be mostly war gear and religious artifacts. Unlike Sutton Hoo it is probably not part of a burial, but rather the spoils from a Mercian raid possibly around AD700. The workmanship looks to be exquisite and intricate. I love these images from The Guardian website that show items still caked in mud from the find.

The story of the find is charming also, an unemployed amateur metal detectorist, Terry Herbert, found the first pieces of the hoard following a particularly deep ploughing of the field this year. This is the first significant thing he has found.

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