Staffordshire Hoard

Near the village of Hammerwich, near Lichfield, in Staffordshire, Terry Herbert found a lot of golden artefacts in a field, he called  the archaeologists so they could do a proper work in the field and find what all of those golden objects were. In the excavation they found more than 3,500 items, dated more or less between the 7th and 8th centuries, in a time when the Anglo-Saxons were in the land. Why were these items buried in this place? Why this many?

We know that from time to time, hoards like these are found, the purpose of placing them in there is unclear, or at least we are never sure why the specific hoard is placed there, it could be for safe keeping, hidding the treasure so maybe later some one could retrieve it, or it can be a great gift for a dead king or any other person of great importance to the people who may have made the burial, or a gift to the gods or landspirits, for some hoards are found in rivers also.

From this finding other 91 pieces have been discovered subsequent to the initial excavation.  It was found that 81 of these items were part of the original treasure, they were close to the original spot , 8 of these were modern farm wastes, and 2 were from different deposits altogether, a bir far away from the original spot, more or less 50 meters away.  Of these 2 items, which were little more than 2-3 centimetres in length,were two scraps of copper alloy being Anglo-Saxon harness fittings, decorated with patterns of interweaving lines. They are unlikely to be chance losses, we can’t expect that harness pieces just fall off a horse and two separate losses would be very unlikely. These two items are similar to  the items in the original hoard and it is clear that people returned to the place, possibly more than once, and buried similar material in this field.

As i have told, some findings similer to this one might have been gifts to deceased people, but the original excavation of the Staffordshire hoard snown no sign of a burial mound. Local folk tell of a small hillock in the field, right where the hoard was discovered. During the initial excavation, a later field boundary curved at this point, as if it were avoiding or perhaps respecting something pre-existing, perhaps the hillock. Soil surveys suggest the hillock was formed from sand and clay, which would have affected vegetation growth at this spot, making it even more noticeable.

Most items found here, are war-like, swords, axes, helmets and all kinds of things that support those weapons, like swords hilts and so on, and even a gold cross that may have been a standard to lead troops into battle. This is most likely to be war-loot, items taken from many foes in a battlefield and placed it in here for some purpose. The Norse people were used to loot many things from their foes, and place those items on a long boat such as the Hjortspring boat from Sweden, and deliberately sink them, giving all the loot as gifts to their war god Odin if he granted them victory ( Tyr was their war god, but it was Odin that would determine which army was to be victorious ). So it is clear that to the Anglo-Saxons this might have been a common thing to do, since they didn’t abandoned their pagan past and costums.

The Hillock in this field might have been to these people a natural barrow for a god or a mythical character from their stories, or even a powerful ancestor, so it is possible that the mound had such stories like these that people started to visit it often and place in it the spoils of war, to pay homage to a deity, or it might have been possible that before the Anglo-Saxons, this place had already a story like this, from some ancient powerful/magical figure to the people native to this place, some sort of a Celtic deity or being, or even a hero, so great that it became a respectful figure to the Anglo-Saxons. It might have been the place to cal upon this figure, for aid, be that in battle, or having courage, being skillful in the arts of war and things like that. People would pray to a god, a spirit, an ancestor for victory in battle or any other thing, if they granted them what they wished, they would give them great gifts, and if they won, always true to their words, they would return to the place to give those gifts and all that they could loot, thankful for being alive and achieve victory. This might explain the other objects slightly different but war-like also, placed not in the same spot but near the excavation sight, probably small offerings.

This is just speculation, a possible reason for the burial of this hoard, although very much plausible.

Note:  If you have any questions for me or if you want to see my artistic works, check out my Facebook page and make a Like if you can by following this link –> http://www.facebook.com/ArithHarger

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