Friday, September 25, 2009

More on the Staffordshire hoard

The BBC has a good article.


... there are two main possibilities.

The first is that this treasure has been purposefully deposited, like an offering to a god.

But, from my 21st-Century perspective, I find it bewildering that someone could shove so much metalwork into the ground as an offering. That seems like overkill.

The other possibility is it's a treasure chest that got lost, or they couldn't come back for it.

The material is predominantly associated with war - swords, sword fittings, bits of helmets and the like - but all the precious metalwork has been stripped.

That means they're not treasuring the objects as wholes,they're taking the precious metals off and keeping them.

Most things we find from the Anglo-Saxon period are what we call "chance finds", in other words the things people lost, or hoards purposefully deposited, or finds from burials.

But hoarding is more associated with the Viking period. Things like big coin hoards are more a 10th-Century sort of find. This is a strange phenomenon in this country for the 7th Century.

People will now be working to understand when the material was deposited, then we'll look at what we know of the history - which is not a lot - to tie it down.

The finds date from a wide period, which is unusual, so the first thing this may do is help us improve our dating of the Anglo-Saxon period.

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