Friday, May 10, 2019

The Staffordshire Hoard Conflict

Some of the pieces from the Anglo-Saxon Staffordshire Hoard.
The largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver coins was uncovered in Staffordshire, England in 2009. The 3500 metal pieces added up to 5.1 kilograms of gold and 1.4 kilograms of silver.*

The hoard dates from the 7th century when the area was the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia. The items are all of high quality and appropriate for a military man—swords, helmets, hilts, pommels, buckles, scabbard loops, etc. Commonly, Anglo-Saxon finds include jewelry, cooking vessels, and eating utensils—items related to a household or suitable for a woman. The few items that break this pattern are three crosses. This hoard seems likely to have been the collected possessions of a soldier or military leader who stashed it away for safekeeping and then failed to live long enough to retrieve it.

Another piece of evidence that these were the possessions of a military man is a small golden strip, approximately 7" x 0.6"; it is inscribed with a passage from the Old Testament: "Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee." [KJV, Numbers 10:35]

The Hoard is now on display at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. You can see more stunning pictures here.

Next, we return to the Tutbury Hoard and talk about, not the finder, but the person who likely lost it.

*The farmer on whose land it was discovered agreed to split the value with the man who found it with a metal detector. They split the £3,300,000 value, but other issues turned them into enemies. You can read about it here.

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