Skip to comments.Staffordshire Gold Hoard (More Saxon Treasure)
Posted on 10/20/2011 4:33:14 AM PDT by Renfield
One day, or perhaps one night, in the late seventh century an unknown party traveled along an old Roman road that cut across an uninhabited heath fringed by forest in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia. Possibly they were soldiers, or then again maybe thievesthe remote area would remain notorious for highwaymen for centuriesbut at any rate they were not casual travelers. Stepping off the road near the rise of a small ridge, they dug a pit and buried a stash of treasure in the ground.
For 1,300 years the treasure lay undisturbed, and eventually the landscape evolved from forest clearing to grazing pasture to working field. Then treasure hunters equipped with metal detectorsubiquitous in Britainbegan to call on farmer Fred Johnson, asking permission to walk the field. "I told one I'd lost a wrench and asked him to find that," Johnson says. Instead, on July 5, 2009, Terry Herbert came to the farmhouse door and announced to Johnson that he had found Anglo-Saxon treasure.
The Staffordshire Hoard, as it was quickly dubbed, electrified the general public and Anglo-Saxon scholars alike. Spectacular discoveries, such as the royal finds at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, had been made in Anglo-Saxon burial sites. But the treasure pulled from Fred Johnson's field was novela cache of gold, silver, and garnet objects from early Anglo-Saxon times and from one of the most important kingdoms of the era. Moreover, the quality and style of the intricate filigree and cloisonné decorating the objects were extraordinary, inviting heady comparisons to such legendary treasures as the Lindisfarne Gospels or the Book of Kells....
Artifacts from the Staffordshire hoard
Blurb from National Geographic:
Join us for a screening of the new National Geographic Channel film Secrets of the Lost Gold, followed by a panel discussion including Caroline Alexander, author of the new Nat Geo book and magazine article about the discovery, David Symons from the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, and Deb Klemperer from the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery.
Nat Geo Museum and Store will be open until 7:15 for this event. Find out more about the Anglo-Saxon Hoard exhibition at the National Geographic Museum, and view a photo gallery of the artifacts.
Purchase a combo ticket for this series and the Nat Geo Museum exhibitions for $73/$81.
Watch Secrets of the Lost Gold, part of Expedition Week starting Monday, November 7 at 9P E/P on the National Geographic Channel.
The oval object in the far left-center of the picture is a cover plate from an ancient Roman light switch.
They did some beautiful metal work.
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I am continually amazed at the detail they did in some of their jewelry or other metalwork. Just amazing. And... all of it was done with simple hand tools.
I’m always curious about how these “hoards” become mishapen. Presumably, when this was lost (or hidden) everything was in good shape. Or, did someone gather these objects in response to an ancient “We pay top dollar for your unwanted jewelry” ad? Omygosh this stuff is beautiful, but there is not one piece that is wearable, as is.
Is there a link for the original article?
I would guess that the container they were buried in rotted away/collapsed (I'm thinking wooden chest?) and compaction of the dirt/earth would cause the pieces to look as they do today. After all, precious metals are soft.
Well, I guess that is a tip for the wise: when you hide your gold jewellry, hide it in a metal box that won’t collapse. Also it is significant that this jewellry is pure gold — no compounds to make it stronger.
"In a practice in northern Europe dating from the Bronze Age through Anglo-Saxon times, swords and other objects, many conspicuously valuable, were deposited in bogs, rivers, and streams as well as in the ground.
"We can no longer see hoards only as piggy banks," says Kevin Leahy, an authority on Anglo-Saxon history who was entrusted with the task of cataloging the Staffordshire treasure. Ritual deposits, as opposed to caches buried for safekeeping, are found not only in Britain but also in Scandinavia, homeland of some of England's Germanic tribes.
Significantly, many weaponsand sometimes other objects, such as a craftsman's toolswere, like the objects in the hoard, bent or broken before burial. Perhaps "killing" a weapon dispatched it to the land of spirits or rendered it a votive offering to the gods, its destruction representing the donor's irrevocable surrender of the valuable weapon's use."
That is an interesting theory, but the objects pictured were not weapons; they were adornment. Well, maybe you could think of them as a woman’s, or a man’s, weapons, used to provoke envy in onlookers.
It’s not my theory and I don’t completely agree with it. Maybe you should apply for a job as a professional archaeologist — you seem to have all the answers. If your computer could access Google you’d learn the artifacts are nearly all parts of weapons. But you wouldn’t want to burden your great intuitive skills with any actual facts, would you?
Don’t get so snippy. I considered this “Hoard” to be mostly jewellry because it looks so much like gold jewellry on display in the museum in Dublin — found in the bogs. I suppose that soome of it could also be scabbord fittings. But, a lot of it looks like cloak fasteners, rings, etc. Have a nice weekend.
Well, sacrificing precious objects is more civilized than sacrificing virgins.