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Secrets of Staffordshire Hoard set to be revealed in new book

Photo: FRANTZESCO KANGARIS/AFP/Getty Images

After a decade of research following the discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard, a new book is aiming to reveal some of its secrets.

The Hoard was first discovered near Lichfield in 2009, and contained more than 600 objects found in 4600 fragments 4 kilos of gold, 1.7 kilos of silver and thousands of cloisonné garnets.

The majority of the treasure was crafted between the mid-sixth and mid-seventh centuries AD and buried between 650-675 AD. It is the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver ever discovered.

A new book, which will be available in November, aims to reveal the importance of the Hoard to our knowledge of British and world history.

The details include:

  • Convincing evidence of precious Christian objects being carried as talismans into battle;
  • Armour and weapons confirming the widespread and brutal events which happened between warring English kingdoms;
  • Theories about why the Hoard was assembled and buried where it was discovered.
  • Clues to who the potentially high-status owner of the treasure was.

The collection is jointly owned by Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Birmingham City Council, with many items on display at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Hanley.

Councillor Lorraine Beardmore, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure, said: “The publication of this fascinating book will be the culmination of 10 years of dedicated work by incredibly talented archaeologists, curators, and Anglo-Saxon experts. It’s a wonderful example of teams from different organisations working together to produce something truly inspiring and ground-breaking – and the results will now transform our perceptions of ancient Britain.

“The book is sure to spark further fascination with the origins of the Hoard and hopefully these latest revelations will encourage even more visitors to see the displays here at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, as well as at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. This summer the Potteries Museum unveiled a refreshed exhibition to mark the tenth anniversary of the discovery of the Hoard and it’s definitely one that’s not to be missed. We’re looking forward to the publication in November and being able to amaze even more visitors with the astonishing story of this stunning treasure.” 

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.”

Paul Drury, President of the Society of Antiquaries, said: ‘Ever since the Staffordshire Hoard was discovered in July 2009, it has captured the imagination of scholars and the public alike, here and abroad. We are honoured to be publishing it in this magnificently illustrated monograph, the eightieth in our Research Report series established over a century ago. Thanks to the generosity of Historic England it is available at a price that we hope will make it readily accessible to a wide audience, as well as ultimately in digital form online.’

The Staffordshire Hoard: An Anglo-Saxon Treasure (ed Chris Fern, Tania Dickinson & Leslie Webster) will be published by the Society of Antiquaries of London on November 1st to coincide with a colloquium ‘Publishing the Staffordshire Treasure: impact and implications’, where key contributors to the project and monograph will be revealing the Hoard discoveries for the first time. With the help of Historic England, the Society has been able to keep costs of the letterpress of The Staffordshire Hoard low and enable a Print on Demand copy to be made available at an affordable price. In due course, an Open Access version will be available free from OAPEN and ADS.

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