Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Things To See: The Staffordshire Hoard

"This is going to alter our perceptions of Anglo-Saxon England..."
Leslie Webster, Former Keeper, Department of Prehistory and Europe, British Musuem.

 CloisonnĂ© garnet and gold hilt fitting with interlocking design.

Ever since I found out about metal detectorist Terry Herbert's discovery in a field near Lichfield, Staffordshire last July, I have been completely enchanted by The Staffordshire Hoard. Subsequent archaeological exacvations have uncovered over 1,500 items from the field; a vast gold and silver treasure emerged from the dirt, once more seeing the light of day after so long spent in the ground.

Gold strip bearing the inscription, "Surge Domine et dissipentur inimici tui et fugiant qui oderunt te a facie tua," ("Rise up Lord;  may your enemies be scattered and those who hate you be driven from your face.")

The Anglo-Saxon period is often called The Dark Ages. 

Gold zoomorphic mount (fish and eagle).

 What this amazing and unprecedented find proves is that this time was anything but gloomy and uncultured. The pieces are examples of remarkable and skilled craftmanship; a glittering window into a world long ago lost. 

Folded cross with interlocking design.

The reasons behind such a large deposit are now being picked over by experts, but the truth of the matter remains that nobody will ever know for sure. Interpretation of artefactual evidence is important, but in this respect I feel that the hoard speaks for itself with a strong and clear voice of it's own. 

 The complete hoard has been valued at £3.285 million.

After a successful appeal to keep the hoard in the West Midlands region, the collection has been bought by Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery. Currently on display in Birmingham, the hoard is awaiting the creation of it's permanent home there. I can't wait to visit myself and admire these beautiful items up close.

All images courtesy of The Staffordshire Hoard's Flickr page. For more wonderful images of the collection, click here.


  1. Makes you want to go digging around in the dirt, doesn't it? Nothing of that sort in this part of the world.
    I'd love to see these close up, too.

    Thanks for the very interesting post.

  2. Certainly does! I've been lucky enough to join a few digs, but wow, what a real wonder this excavation must have been!

    I'm hoping to go very soon and see the hoard up close and will be sure to report back on it.

    :) Laura