Skip to comments.Hoard shines light on Dark Ages (U.K.)
Posted on 09/24/2009 10:12:34 AM PDT by Red Badger
Deputy head of Portable Antiquities Scheme, British Museum This treasure paints a new picture of our past and the Dark Ages. What makes it outstanding is the sheer quantity - we're talking about 1,500 objects, almost entirely precious metal. Normally you would expect a handful of objects each year of this quality for the period in question, which is the 7th Century. A metal detectorist finding just one of these objects would consider it the find of their life. To find 1,500 is bizarre and it would blow the average person's mind. Now, everybody wants to know who it belongs to and why it was put there. But those questions are tricky to answer. Deputy head of Portable Antiquities Scheme, British Museum This treasure paints a new picture of our past and the Dark Ages. What makes it outstanding is the sheer quantity - we're talking about 1,500 objects, almost entirely precious metal. Normally you would expect a handful of objects each year of this quality for the period in question, which is the 7th Century. A metal detectorist finding just one of these objects would consider it the find of their life. To find 1,500 is bizarre and it would blow the average person's mind. Now, everybody wants to know who it belongs to and why it was put there. But those questions are tricky to answer. The material is predominantly associated with war - swords, sword fittings, bits of helmets and the like - but all the precious metalwork has been stripped. That means they're not treasuring the objects as wholes, they're taking the precious metals off and keeping them. Most things we find from the Anglo-Saxon period are what we call "chance finds", in other words the things people lost, ...hoards purposefully deposited, or finds from burials.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.bbc.co.uk ...
A folded cross - precious metal seemed to mean more than items themselves
The sheer quantity of precious metal uncovered is unprecedented
Interesting article despite the fact Dr Michael Lewis writes on the 8th grade level.
Ping to Fred.
They finally found your lost jewellery!
He’s writing for the Beeb...............
Now, everybody wants to know TO WHOM it belongs............(THERE, FIXED IT UP).......
So THAT’s what’s in my wallet!
Today on eBay you can find gold scrap for sale. This is how many goldsmiths get the gold they work into salable items.
I would venture the thought here that this is the supply stash of a goldsmith. That persons or families stripped items no longer used or usable of gold, then sold the precious metal to a goldsmith. What happens today no doubt happened long, long ago.
Thanks for posting.
Thanks Red Badger.
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I wonder how accurate the dating is on this stuff? One of the items looks like a gold crucifix which has been stripped of its gems and corpus, maybe the wood it was affixed to rotted out from under it? Another piece has a Bible verse inscribed on it.
I just took a look at some of the King Arthur timelines, if he existed, it would have been around 500 AD. It will be interesting to see who the original owners of the gold were?
Your notion of it being scrap gold is interesting. It seems like a large amount of gold for a craftsman to be holding on to.
According to Kevin Leahy, most of the gold are spoils of war, no women’s jewelry in the mix. And descriptions that match the “hoard” can be found in Beowulf.
Anyway, I do hope to hear more about what they learn.
I recently heard on television an English archaeologist discussing this find. He claimed it belonged to a King, who they speculate buried it for safekeeping.
Your statement about Beowulf is spot on. This was a very violent and feudal time in England. A population’s security depended upon, and that includes any tradesmen like a goldsmith, the protection of a nobleman and his armed troops.
Spoils of war belonging to a King is not out of line with it being a goldsmith’s scrap stash, as there were no real independent tradesmen operating in the far north during that time period. A different situation prevailed around the eastern Mediterranean, with its large populations and metropolitan cities, where the economy wasn’t so medieval. A goldsmith in England would be working - shall we say, on retainer - for the largest employer around, namely a King.
Archaeologist know this stuff, as do historians and art historians. Layman just need to hear the explanation which experts seem too hurried to provide.
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