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Largest hoard of Saxon treasure found in England

 
 
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 02:02 pm
http://i35.tinypic.com/2wbye6r.jpg


Quote:
Amateur treasure hunter hits jackpot with Anglo-Saxon find
Posted : Thu, 24 Sep 2009
By : Josephine Gates

London - An amateur treasure hunter who unearthed Britain's largest-ever amount of gold and silver from the Anglo-Saxon period said Thursday he had seen "gold in his sleep" and felt that the rewards from his hobby were "more fun than winning the lottery."Terry Herbert, 55, who is unemployed, came across the massive hoard as he searched fields near his home in Staffordshire in England's West Midlands in July, using his trusted 14-year-old metal detector.

"People laugh at metal detectorists," he said, adding they people ridiculed them for searching for pennies. "Well, no, we are out there to find this kind of staff and it is out there."

"As soon as I closed my eyes I saw gold patterns, I didn't think it was ever going to end," said Herbert about his find on July 5.

The discovery of 1,345 items - most of it taken from weaponry, was officially declared a treasure by the authorities in Staffordshire Thursday, meaning that Herbert and the farmer on whose land they were found will share the seven-figure-sum museums are expected to pay to put them on display.

The hoard, which includes five kilos of gold and 2.5 kilos of silver, is believed to date back to the 7th century and could have belonged to Saxon royalty in what was once the Kingdom of Mercia.

"This is absolutely phenomenal. It is a hugely important find. ... The volume and size and range of material is amazing and there are things here that we have not seen before," said Duncan Slarke, finds liaison officer for Staffordshire.

Experts believe that the find is of greater archaeological significance than the 1939 discovery of the Sutton Hoo ship burial site near Ipswich, in the south-eastern county of Suffolk.

"This is going to alter our perceptions of Anglo-Saxon England as radically, if not more so, as the Sutton Hoo discoveries," said Leslie Webster, former keeper at the British Museum's Department of Prehistory and Europe.

The find was "absolutely the equivalent" of finding a new Lindisfarne Gospels or Book of Kells.

Kevin Leahy, an archaeological expert who catalogued the hoard, praised the extraordinary craftsmanship it revealed.

"This was the very best that the Anglo-Saxon metalworkers could do, and they were very good. Tiny garnets were cut to shape and set in a mass of cells to give a rich, glowing effect; it is stunning."

"Its origins are clearly the very highest-levels of Saxon aristocracy or royalty. It belonged to the elite," he said.

"It looks like a collection of trophies, but it is impossible to say if the hoard was the spoils from a single battle or a long and highly successful military career."

A selection of the items went on display at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery Thursday where they will be shown until October 13.

Meanwhile, Herbert, who said he was going to build a new home with his new-found wealth, said: "Maybe it was meant to be, maybe the gold had my name on it all along, I don't know."

Copyright DPA
Source: dpa via EarthTimes
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Type: Discussion • Score: 8 • Views: 4,089 • Replies: 26
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 02:03 pm
http://i37.tinypic.com/sxndx0.jpg
http://i37.tinypic.com/2vct53m.jpg
http://i37.tinypic.com/119s4r6.jpg
All photos above from Evening News (London), Late Extra, 24.09.09, frontpage and page 11

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Euronews report and video
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 02:29 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Now those guys won't have to do those Capital One commercials.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 02:33 pm
Cool beans, Walter . . . this is great, thanks . . .
0 Replies
 
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 06:16 pm
How the heck did all that stuff end up in a farmer's field? Do they think someone was trying to hide it 1000 years ago and planned on going back to recover it, but something prevented their return? These items were certainly just as valuable in their day, so I wonder how someone lost track of so much bling. It's not like misplacing your car keys.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 06:20 pm
Thanks, Walter.
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 11:41 pm
A stunning find. Hopefully the collection will stay together.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Sep, 2009 01:02 am
@Green Witch,
Green Witch wrote:

How the heck did all that stuff end up in a farmer's field? Do they think someone was trying to hide it 1000 years ago and planned on going back to recover it, but something prevented their return? These items were certainly just as valuable in their day, so I wonder how someone lost track of so much bling. It's not like misplacing your car keys.


There's an answer for your questions in today's Independent

Quote:
How did the hoard come to be buried in that field? It may have been a tribute to the pagan gods or concealed in the face of a perceived threat which led to it not being recovered. When we have done more work on the hoard we will be able to say more.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Sep, 2009 01:06 am
@Ceili,
Ceili wrote:

A stunning find. Hopefully the collection will stay together.


It's really a stunning find. But when we get results, it might be more stunning what we'll know then about the people behind the "golden hoard".

I'm rather sure that the collection will stand together.
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Sep, 2009 08:23 am
@Walter Hinteler,
My maiden name is an Saxon name. My father's people are from that area in England.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Sep, 2009 08:25 am
@Ceili,
I am a Saxon Wink (Hinteler means "behind the field").
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Sep, 2009 09:24 am
@Walter Hinteler,
My maiden name is a variation of Hauocheswelle "dweller by the hawk's well or spring". The name is recorded in the DOOMSDAY book. I was pretty darn impressed to learn that. Smile
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Sep, 2009 10:30 am
@Ceili,
Well, the saxons here couldn't write until ... they were overrun by the Franks.

And even then it took some time before they were able to do so. So, I can't go back further than 1285. Wink
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Sep, 2009 12:56 pm

This gold was not buried very deep. It was in the topsoil, some very shallow indeed, and had no doubt been disturbed by ploughing.

I heard yesterday that one of the gemstones had come from Sri Lanka! That's some trade for the 7th c
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Sep, 2009 02:43 pm
@McTag,
Quote:
I heard yesterday that one of the gemstones had come from Sri Lanka! That's some trade for the 7th c


That's really not that surprising. India has long been a source of gem stones, and trade between Sri Lanka and the mainland is no stretch, nor is trade along the rather brief and relative tame sea route from the Indus River estuary to the Persian Gulf. Thereafter, overland trade would have accounted for it. The Roman "sub-province" of Iudaea (Judea) was established within the province of Syria, and with a capital at Caesarea Maritima (Jerusalem didn't mean a damned thing to the Romans--except trouble) precisely because of a perceived need to regulate and protect the overland trade from the head of the Persian Gulf (where Basra is today).

Some European paeleontologists believe that "mummified" remains (preserved by the arid climate, and not by intentional embalming) found in the Gansu corridor are those of western European traders from many thousands of years ago. The Chinese will no longer those remains to be examined (it seemed to upset them). Silk was being traded into Siberia in the first millenium BCE.

Ancient traders had exactly the same motivation as modern ones, they just didn't move as quickly.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Sep, 2009 03:09 pm
@Setanta,
The Saxons here imported a lot of things from the Romans ...

------------------

The following photo is from a Saxon burial side close to us (for McTag: between here and where my father was born). It was some kind of local 'prince' (a couple of horses were buried as well), from about 600.

http://i33.tinypic.com/2bqfye.jpg
0 Replies
 
Reyn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Sep, 2009 04:31 pm
Very interesting story and photos, Walter! Thanks for posting.
0 Replies
 
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 02:52 am
Do I foresee a stampede in metal detecting in England and an upsurge in metal detectors? It could help the economy in some way.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metal_detector

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Metal_Detector.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MK_III_Polish_Mine_Detector.jpg



0 Replies
 
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 03:00 am
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Metal_Detector.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MK_III_Polish_Mine_Detector.jpg

download imaging doesn't seem to work!
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 04:02 am

There's gold in them thar hills.
0 Replies
 
 

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