Secrets of Staffordshire Hoard set to be uncovered in new book
From suspected royal treasure to loot from a series of battles – experts have revealed the unheard secrets of the Staffordshire Hoard after a decade of extensive research.
Secrets of the historic find are set to be uncovered in a new book which has been painstakingly put together by archaeology specialists.
Around 4,000 items of gold, silver and garnets, the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver, were discovered in the county 10 years ago.
It was found by Burntwood metal detectorist Terry Herbert on July 5, 2009.
Experts have been trying to uncover the secret of the hoard for years, to work out the story behind the prized items, and have now narrowed it down to plausible theories.
And now the mystery is closer to being solved – with several clues pointing out the reasons behind why the hoard was buried, and the suspected owner.
Experts believe it could have belonged to an elite warrior – or even someone from the royal household.
Theories about why the treasure was assembled and buried in a field in Hammerwich, near Lichfield, will be discussed in the new book, titled: "The Staffordshire Hoard: An Anglo-Saxon Treasure".
Released on November 1, the packed book has been written by specialists in archaeology and history – and is illustrated with full-colour photographs, maps and drawings.
Experts believe the treasure could derive from a royal treasury, or from battle-loot taken and buried – to be recovered at a later date – or that it was a ritualised concealment, intended to keep 'tainted' objects locked away forever.
Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s chief executive, said: “In 2009 we received a rather breathless call from an officer of the Portable Antiquities Scheme saying that something astonishing had been unearthed in an ordinary field near Lichfield. What followed exceeded all expectations and over the past 10 years we have been proud to fund the research into the Hoard that has allowed us to learn just what our 7th Century ancestors were capable of.
"The range of fascinating objects discovered has given us an extraordinary insight into Saxon craftsmanship and culture and this new monograph gives in-depth detail of everything we know about this spectacular discovery.”
The pieces are currently on display on Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, and the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent.
The Staffordshire Hoard: An Anglo-Saxon Treasure will be published by the Society of Antiquaries of London on November 1.