View Full Version : Largest Anglo-Saxon Gold Hoard Discovered in Staffordshire

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009, 05:36 PM
Seems like a significant find. Maybe she was from the Gewisse tribe who went onto to found the Kingdom of Wessex.

A 55-year-old metal detectorist has unearthed the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found, archaeologists said. The staggering discovery, on private farmland in Staffordshire, will redefine perceptions of Anglo-Saxon England, experts predict.

Terry Herbert, from Burntwood, Staffordshire, came across the hoard as he searched a field near his home with his trusty 14-year-old detector. Experts said the collection of more than 1,500 pieces - which will be officially classified by a coroner as treasure - is unparalleled in size and may have belonged to Saxon royalty. The hoard, believed to date back to the seventh century, contains around 5kg of gold and 2.5kg of silver, far bigger than previous finds - including the Sutton Hoo burial site.

It may take more than a year to value the collection and, given its scale, the financial worth of the hoard cannot be estimated. Leslie Webster, former keeper at the British Museum's Department of Prehistory and Europe, said: "This is going to alter our perceptions of Anglo-Saxon England as radically, if not more so, as the Sutton Hoo discoveries. (It is) absolutely the equivalent of finding a new Lindisfarne Gospels or Book of Kells."

Many of the items in the hoard are warfare paraphernalia, including sword pommel caps and hilt plates, often inlaid with precious stones. The exact location of the discovery has not been disclosed but it is understood to be near the Lichfield border in South Staffordshire.

Mr Herbert, who has been metal detecting for 18 years, came across the buried hoard in July after asking a farmer friend if he could search on his land. He said: "I have this phrase that I say sometimes; 'spirits of yesteryear take me where the coins appear', but on that day I changed coins to gold. I don't know why I said it that day, but I think somebody was listening and directed me to it.

"Maybe it was meant to be, maybe the gold had my name on it all along, I don't know. My mates at the (metal detecting) club always say if there is a gold coin in a field I will be the one to find it. I dread to think what they'll say when they hear about this." He added: "This is what metal detectorists dream of, finding stuff like this. But the vast amount there is is just unbelievable."

Dr Kevin Leahy, National Finds Adviser from the Portable Antiquities Scheme, catalogued the hoard. He said: "The quantity of gold is amazing but, more importantly, the craftsmanship is consummate. This was the very best that the Anglo-Saxon metalworkers could do, and they were very good."

Thursday, September 24th, 2009, 08:54 AM

Thursday, September 24th, 2009, 10:45 AM
Could you post a link to this story? Maybe they have some photos.

Thursday, September 24th, 2009, 11:30 AM
no photo's yet.it was as i have posted it.saw it on msn uk homepage.
its very exciting but i dont think they'll release photo's yet.
kind regards.

Thursday, September 24th, 2009, 12:38 PM
Here we go:

BBC news (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/staffordshire/8272058.stm)
includes a short video and has some photos

Daily Mail (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1215723/Staffordshire-hoard-Amateur-treasure-hunter-finds-Britains-biggest-haul-Anglo-Saxon-gold.html)
Lots of large photos

Amazing works!

Thursday, September 24th, 2009, 04:07 PM
Incredible isnt it.Imagine being the first person to touch those treasures since our ancesters buried them.
Makes me wonder how many other hoardes there may be all over Europe waiting to be discovered.
I was really left in awe after visiting Sutton Hoo..Look forward to seeing these in the future.:D

Thursday, September 24th, 2009, 06:00 PM
"The Folded Cross' (l) which formed part of the find, and (r) an artist's impression of how it would have looked originally. The fact such a prominent Christian symbol was bent could be a sign it was buried by pagans"


Looking through these pictures with my jaw dropped.

Thursday, September 24th, 2009, 07:06 PM
I'm stunned and can't wait for full report of the contents, they don't mention if there are any blades with all those hilts and pommels.
When I went to post these links on a Knife makers forum someone beat me to to. This find will change the way the world looks at art from the dark ages.:thumbup

Thursday, September 24th, 2009, 07:13 PM
The fact such a prominent Christian symbol was bent could be a sign it was buried by pagans.

I am thinking if making it my new avatar.:D

Looking through these pictures with my jaw dropped.

Same here. No telling just how many more of these hoards are waiting to be found.

Thursday, September 24th, 2009, 08:00 PM

I found a link with good photos and such.

Really a great discovery! It sure sparks the imagination about what else could be laying waiting to be found in England's countryside.

Wodens Day
Thursday, September 24th, 2009, 09:13 PM
The find is said to be bigger than that at Sutton Hoo and as important as finding a new Lindisfarne Gospels or Book of Kells.

Ruling the 'Staffordshire Hoard' cache of gold and silver items - much of it taken from weaponry - to be treasure, Mr Haigh said: "This is a magnificent find, both in terms of its content and its likely history."

Experts are piecing together what they believe are parts from several splendidly decorated helmets.

Dr Roger Bland, head of portable antiquities and treasure at the British Museum, told the inquest in Cannock that the significance of the find was "only beginning to dawn" on the small number of experts who have examined it. He said the hoard would be worth a "seven-figure sum". "I can't say anything other than we expect it to be a seven-figure sum," he said. Mr Bland told the coroner: "It is at least as significant as any of the major discoveries of this period that have been made in the past."


A cloissone object at the site of an Anglo-Saxon hoard found by Terry Herbert showing how close antiquities were to the surface












A gold cross which has been folded, possibly to make it fit into a small space prior to burial. The apparent lack of respect shown to this Christian symbol may point to the hoard being buried by pagans

Thursday, September 24th, 2009, 09:27 PM
Fascinating items. I wonder where I send my application to to take part in the cleaning of them :D

Friday, September 25th, 2009, 11:51 AM
Occasionally the news makes me smile.

It's an unprecedented find that could revolutionize ideas about medieval England's Germanic rulers: An amateur treasure-hunter searching a farmer's field with a metal detector unearthed a huge collection of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver artifacts.

The discovery sent a thrill through Britain's archaeological community, which said Thursday that it offers new insight into the world of the Anglo-Saxons, who ruled England from the fifth century until the 1066 Norman invasion and whose cultural influence is still felt throughout the English-speaking world.

"This is just a fantastic find completely out of the blue," Roger Bland, who managed the cache's excavation, told The Associated Press. "It will make us rethink the Dark Ages."

The treasure trove includes intricately designed helmet crests embossed with a frieze of running animals, enamel-studded sword fittings and a checkerboard piece inlaid with garnets and gold. One gold band bore a biblical inscription in Latin calling on God to drive away the bearer's enemies.

The Anglo-Saxons were a group of Germanic tribes who invaded England starting in the wake of the collapse of the Roman Empire. Their artisans made striking objects out of gold and enamel, and their language, Old English, is a precursor of modern English.

The cache of gold and silver pieces was discovered in what was once Mercia, one of five main Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, and is thought to date to between 675 and 725.

For Terry Herbert, the unemployed metal-detecting enthusiast who made the discovery on July 5 while scouring a friend's farm in the western region of Staffordshire, it was "more fun than winning the lottery."

The 55-year-old spent five days searching the field alone before he realized he needed help and notified authorities. Professional archaeologists then took over the find.

"I was going to bed and in my sleep I was seeing gold items," Herbert said of the experience.

Angelcynn Beorn
Friday, September 25th, 2009, 07:21 PM
Excellent news of course. It can only help us better understand our own ancestors and native way of life.


beowulf wodenson
Friday, September 25th, 2009, 07:52 PM
Exciting find, maybe to rival even Sutton Hoo. :thumbup

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010, 08:25 PM
I'm going to see this hoard on Monday at the British museum in London.

Angelcynn Beorn
Thursday, May 6th, 2010, 01:29 AM
I'm going to see this hoard on Monday at the British museum in London.

How long is it being displayed for?

Friday, March 11th, 2011, 04:00 PM
Reading the news I noticed this story.
I watched the series "Monarchy" by Historian David Starkey and have come to have a great respect for his work and research. I believe England is lucky to have him working for the preservation of English history. I am very happy to see that he wants to keep the hoard in it's native area in the West Midlands.


Friday, March 11th, 2011, 04:08 PM
I wonder if some day we'll discover King Arthur's gold...