Saturday, 18 April 2020

The Staffordshire Hoard

With more than 3,500 items, amounting to some 5kg of gold and 1.4kg of silver – plus thousands of garnets – the Staffordshire hoard is the largest cache of Anglo-Saxon metalwork ever found.
Archaeologists believe the treasures were captured over several large mid-seventh century battles. It's likely that they were seized by the English midlands kingdom of Mercia from the kingdoms of Northumbria, East Anglia and possibly Wessex.
The items are almost exclusively military. The hoard was made up of fittings from up to 150 swords, gold and garnet elements of high status seax (fighting knifes), a gilded silver helmet, crosses, and a probable bishop’s headdress.
The ornate bishop’s headdress is the world’s earliest surviving example of high status ecclesiastical headgear. One element bears an inscription – a quotation from the Book of Numbers. It reads “Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee”.

It is possible that the hoard was war booty captured by the pagan Mercian king, Penda, from armies led by Christians.