Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Some of the notable pieces from the gold and silver hoard which was found in a private field in Staffordshire, England by a metal-detector user have been put on display in the British Museum in the city of London.

A photo of one of the gold pieces found in the Staffordshire hoard

Approximately 1,500 pieces were found in July of this year; the discovery was reported by news sources in September. The value of the hoard itself is still being checked. 18 of the pieces have now gone on display in the museum in London, England, and can be seen by members of the public.

Fred Johnson, who is the owner of the land in which the hoard was found, said: “It’s been an incredible experience. I’m overwhelmed by it all. They say this will change the history books; it’s a strange thought that came from something lying in my field all this time. I’m trying to keep a level head about it. I’m trying not to think at all about the value of it.” Johnson will share the sum of the value of the hoard with Terry Herbert, who found the pieces. The hoard is believed to date back to the 7th century.

“People laugh at metal detectorists,” Herbert said in late September. “I’ve had people go past and go ‘beep beep, he’s after pennies’. Well no, we are out there to find this kind of stuff and it is out there.”

What is interesting about the hoard as a whole is all the objects are associated with war to some or a greater extent.

Michael Lewis is the deputy head of the Department of Portable Antiquities in the British Museum. Speaking to BBC News about this event, he said: “The view is that it was probably in some sort of container but that has not survived and it was deliberately hoarded, put into the ground, what is unclear is why, and I suppose what we find is they would have been objects that had been stripped from the enemies’ weapons.

“What is interesting about the hoard as a whole is all the objects are associated with war to some or a greater extent. What the hoard consists of is mainly gold objects, there are some silver ones, basically they have been stripped from whatever they were on for instance sword fittings. What it demonstrates is that the Anglo-Saxons as a people were very able to do amazing things with objects and I reckon people nowadays attempting to make these objects would have great difficulty in doing so.”

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