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The Staffordshire Hoard: a treasure saved for the nation
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The Staffordshire Hoard: a treasure saved for the nation


Talk given at the Fitzwilliam Museum, 27th July 2001

Talk given at the Fitzwilliam Museum, 27th July 2001

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  • Staffordshire – large selection of interlace, many with animal interlace. Probably the animal interlace over time get so dismembered that the animals disappear altogether


  • 1. The Staffordshire Hoard Helen Geake, Finds Adviser, Portable Antiquities Scheme
  • 2. The Daily Mail, September 25 th 2009
  • 3. The Potteries Museum in Stoke-on-Trent Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
  • 4. Sutton Hoo Mound 1, c. 625 AD … France, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Syria, Egypt, Byzantium… … and Britain! objects from…
  • 5. peoples and kingdoms, from Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People (731 AD) England in the 7th century AD (hoard site in pink)
  • 6. Distribution map of Anglo-Saxon burials, c. 430-c. 700 (from Lucy 2000) (Hoard site in pink)
  • 7. Penda, ruled c. 630 to 655 – killed 5 kings: Edwin* of Northumbria 633 Oswald* of Northumbria 642 Sigeberht* and Ecgric of East Anglia 636 Anna* of East Anglia 654 Bede’s information about Mercia in the seventh century * great Christian king and one of Bede’s heroes
  • 8. Lots of gold! approximately: 5 kg gold 1.5 kg silver 0.5 kg copper alloy
  • 9.  
  • 10. Spear Helmet Sword Seax Shield The usual equipment of the Anglo-Saxon warrior
  • 11. pommel hilt plates hilt collar Some components of a sword hilt hilt plates (this reconstructed sword is from Sutton Hoo in Suffolk)
  • 12. About 90 pommels from a sword (large) probably from a seax (small) Over 350 hilt fittings hilt plate from a seax hilt plate from a sword elaborate hilt collar simple wire hilt collar 4 rings from sword pommels
  • 13. Scabbard fittings from the Staffordshire Hoard (reconstruction of the Sutton Hoo sword)
  • 14. Helmet from Benty Grange, Derbyshire Peak District (c. 650 AD) Reconstruction of the Benty Grange helmet with horn plates in between the iron bands and bristles on the boar
  • 15. A reconstruction of the Sutton Hoo helmet hinged cheekpieces Iron helmet from Wollaston, Northamptonshire
  • 16. Helmet cheekpiece from the Staffordshire Hoard compare to the Sutton Hoo helmet 61.3% gold, 36.8% silver, 3.4% copper
  • 17. Helmet crest from the Staffordshire Hoard again, compare to the Sutton Hoo helmet
  • 18. Sutton Hoo helmet showing stamped foil decoration
  • 19. Someone gripping and stabbing Warriors with round shields and eagle-crested helmets People running or kneeling Silver foils, probably from a helmet
  • 20. Lots of bits of helmet!
  • 21. Two small crosses... … a medium-sized one…
  • 22. … and an enormous one with huge garnets! detail of the ornament
  • 23. detail of the ornament
  • 24. Byzantine ring-cut garnet
  • 25. One arm from a cross?
  • 26. [S] U R G E d N E d I S E P E n T U R I N I M I C I T U I E t [F] U G E n T q U I O d E R U N [T] T E α F α C I E T U α [s]urge domine disepentur inimici tui et [f]ugent qui oderunt te a facie tua Rise up, o Lord, and may Thy enemies be dispersed and those who hate Thee be driven from thy face (Numbers 10, 35) Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him (Psalm 67/68, 2)
  • 27. Mystery objects
  • 28. cloisonné cell-work from a hilt collar cabochon-cut garnets from part of a sword pyramid
  • 29. This object is one inch (2½ cm) long stamped gold foil underneath the garnets
  • 30. Garnets cut at an angle on a sword pyramid (the sword pyramid is 2 cm square) Garnets with a ribbed edge (the hilt collar is 3 cm across)
  • 31. Glass settings from the Staffordshire Hoard Tiny bits of blue glass on a sword pyramid ‘ Millefiori’ glass on a stud
  • 32. Detail of a millefiori glass settings from one of the sword pyramids
  • 33. Filigree on hilt collars
  • 34.  
  • 35.  
  • 36.  
  • 37. animals and birds in cloisonn é garnets
  • 38. Interlacing animals on the helmet cheekpiece
  • 39. heads with jaws feet or paws close-up detail hip or shoulder joint the complete object
  • 40. Animal head visible Possible animal head just visible No animal elements discernable
  • 41. What was the hoard for ?
    • Deliberately hidden for safekeeping?
    • Lost by mistake?
    • A gift to the gods?
    • The contents of a royal treasury
    • Plunder from a battle (with blades removed)
    • Tribute from defeated kingdom(s)
    • A goldsmith’s hoard, awaiting recycling
    • Theft of one of the above
    • A sacrificial deposit
  • 42. Site location
  • 43.  
  • 44. Excavating the findspot of the hoard
  • 45.  
  • 46. The Book of Durrow f. 192v (no precise date) Seax hilt-plate from the Staffordshire Hoard
  • 47.