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The Largest Hoard of Anglo-Saxon Gold Ever Found

Treasure

The Staffordshire Hoard consists of over 1500 breathtaking gold and silver items. It was discovered by treasure hunter Terry Herbert on July 5, 2009. He was searching private land with a metal detector when he came across the first item. Herbert then spent the next five days feverishly scouring the neighbouring farmland in search of the rest of the treasure. The items were subsequently excavated by the Birmingham University Archeology Unit to ensure that nothing was accidentally damaged or overlooked.

"The quality of the craftsmanship displayed on many items is supreme, indicating possible royal ownership. Stylistically most items appear to date from the seventh century, although there is already debate among experts about when the Hoard first entered the ground.

This was a period of great turmoil. England did not yet exist. A number of kingdoms with tribal loyalties vied with each other in a state of semi-perpetual warfare, with the balance of power constantly ebbing and flowing.

The exact spot where the Hoard lay hidden for a millennium and a half cannot yet be revealed. However we can say that it lay at the heart of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Mercia."

Checkerboard stud

The first question that crossed my mind was, "Does Herbert get to keep it?" It turns out he doesn't - ownership of the find falls to the Crown and the collection will be offered to museums.

However, 55-year-old Herbert and the landowner will receive a reward equaling the full value of the treasure, but figuring out how much it's all worth will be tricky. The metal has a scrap value of approximately £100,000, although top-notch 7th century craftsmanship is a tad rarer than gold fillings or old pocket watches.

Some of the pieces will be displayed at the Birmingham Museum from Friday September 25th through October 13th. After that, everything will be taken to the British Museum for valuation.

The Staffordshire Hoard

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