Thursday, 24 September 2009

Saxon Gold

Gold Hilt Fitting

It might interest my Medieval author friends, that over the past few days a hoard of Anglo Saxon gold has been unearthed in a Staffordshire field. British archaeological experts say this is one of the largest caches of Anglo-Saxon treasure ever found.

The 1,500-piece find is on par with the Book of Kells, one of the best-known illuminated manuscripts in the world.Among the treasures, which authorities believe date to the 7th and 8th centuries AD Anglo-Saxon period, are sword hilt fittings, helmet pieces, crosses and a strip of gold bearing a Latin inscription from the Bible.

This gold strip carries the Latin inscription: "Rise up O Lord, and may thy enemies be dispersed and those who hate thee be driven from thy face." It has two sources, the Book of Numbers or Psalm 67, taken from the Vulgate, the Bible used by the Saxons.

The hoard is a very male-oriented, war-related collection; possibly a private cache of an elite Saxon warrior or warriors, or had been stolen from one or more. The swords themselves aren't there—the bits seem to have been torn off the weapons rather than the weapons themselves. Hard to say what that means at this point. The intricate designs, the numbers and sheer weight of the objects and the use of semi precious stones are all supporting evidence of that.

After analysis, which is expected to take months if not years, the artifacts will be displayed in a venue to be announced. Lots of museums are vying to buy the hoard, including the British Museum and English Heritage.

Fish and Eagle Detail

Maybe there will be an upsurge in popularity for Anglo Saxon based novels - who knows?


N. Gemini Sasson said...

I'm gobsmacked just looking at a few pictures. I can't even imagine how it must have felt to discover it.

Marsha Moore said...

I saw that on Channel 4 last night! Amazing!

Carolin said...

Saw it here in the US in the news. Lovely workmanship, a fantastic find!

Lisa Yarde said...

I was amazed by the discovery of such beautiful pieces so close to the surface. Waiting to see if they discover a nearby kingly burial to help explain such a find.

V. L. Smith said...

Such incredible beauty. I do hope the hoard stays in Britain where it belongs. It would be a shame to see it dispersed around the world.