Staffordshire Hoard

Posted: March 30, 2015 in Anglo-Saxon History, History, UK
Tags:

Close up of folded gold cross
Folded golden Cross
Photo from Portable Antiquities scheme (https://www.flickr.com/photos/finds/)

A long lunch break during a meeting in Birmingham last Saturday enabled me to visit the new gallery at the Birmingham Museum dedicated to the Staffordshire Hoard.

Part of the hoard in situ
Part of the hoard insitu
Photo from Portable Antiquities scheme (https://www.flickr.com/photos/finds/)

Staffs cross
Photo by Gordon Tour (https://www.flickr.com/photos/gordontour/)

This is the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon Gold and silver metalwork ever discovered. It was found in a field near Lichfield in 2009 and consists of over 3,500 items, 5kg of Gold, 1.5 Kg of Silver and 3,500 garnets. All of the items are male decoration and many are of a military use including pommel caps and hilt plates.

Sword pommel
Sword Pommell
Photo from Portable Antiquities scheme (https://www.flickr.com/photos/finds/)

Assemblage of sword fittings
Sword Fittings
Photo from Portable Antiquities scheme (https://www.flickr.com/photos/finds/)

Sword pommel
Decorated Sword Fitting
Photo from Portable Antiquities scheme (https://www.flickr.com/photos/finds/)

It dates from 7th or 8th century Mercia, the kingdom which occupied much of Central England and which was at the peak of its power at that time. It seems unlikely to be loot due to the nature of the items and the high quality of workmanship throughout all the items. It could be a collection of trophies although some have suggested it could be a ransom hoard.

Millefiori stud
A stud
Photo from Portable Antiquities scheme (https://www.flickr.com/photos/finds/)

Gold zoomorphic plate
Gold plate
Photo from Portable Antiquities scheme (https://www.flickr.com/photos/finds/)

Gold ring
Gold ring
Photo from Portable Antiquities scheme (https://www.flickr.com/photos/finds/)

Why it was buried is also a mystery. It was probably hidden for safe-keeping but the depositor then failed to come back to reclaim it.

A magnificent collection

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