The Staffordshire Hoard

The golden strip with inscription. Photo: K. Leahy, R. Bland, The Staffordshire Hoard (London 2009).

The most astonishing excavation of the last years is the hoard that was discovered on July 5th, 2009 in Staffordshire, United Kingdom. The excavation recovered a total of 1662 objects from early medieval England. The hoard is most unusual, because it largely compromises wargear and there are no items of female ornament. The date of the deposit, the reason why it was buried and who might have buried it have caused great puzzlement and speculation. There are only a few fixed points that enable experts to date the objects in the hoard.

The Sutton Hoo ship burial, excavated in 1939, is one of them. These discoveries signaled a remarkable change in attitude towards early Anglo-Saxon society. The discovery was made in the heartland of the warlike kingdom of Mercia. The hoard consists mostly of weapons, perhaps battlefield trophies, helmets, sword hilt fittings, a folded Christian cross, a golden strip bearing a biblical inscription in the vulgate version of Latin, a golden eagle mount, gems, buckles, golden snakes, stones and other objects made of gold, silver, copper alloy and other materials. The end of Roman Britain after 410 was apparently not the end of civilization Source: K. Leahy, R. Bland, The Staffordshire Hoard (London 2009).