Large hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold found in Staffordshire, England

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pieces from the hoard.
Image: Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

A large hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold has been found in a field in Staffordshire, England.

The hoard, which was found in a private field over the course of five days in July 2009, is in fact the most Anglo-Saxon gold that has ever been unearthed at one site in the United Kingdom. Roughly 1,500 gold and silver pieces were found and the hoard contains roughly 5kgs of gold and 2.5kgs of silver — far more than the previous record of 2.5kgs of gold which was found at Sutton Hoo, near Woodbridge.

The big haul in Staffordshire was found by 55-year-old Terry Herbert, while he was using a metal-detector. He had asked a local farmer's permission to search the land beforehand. Terry is unemployed, and has been in the hobby of metal-detecting for the last 18 years. He said: "People laugh at metal detectorists.

"I've had people go past and go 'beep beep, he's after pennies'. Well no, we are out there to find this kind of stuff and it is out there."

It is estimated to take over twelve months before the value of the hoard can be valued specifically. South Staffordshire Coroner Andrew Haigh declared it "treasure". That means that it belongs to the Crown. Archaeology experts have predicted that it could be worth "a seven-figure sum" and that the treasure may date back to the 7th century. The exact location where the hoard was found is currently being kept secret.

This story has updates
See Staffordshire hoard goes on display in British Museum in London, England, November 4, 2009