I’m a Saxon. Well, at least that’s what I tell my yoga instructor by way of explaining why I fall over backwards every time I attempt even a half lotus. The truth is that although I’ve got that chunky, big-boned morph-type I associate with Saxon heritage, I’ve got no real idea whether I’m related to Æthelred the Unready or, whether I’m Celt, Pict, Jute, Angle, Dane or, as is likely the case, a mix of all these tribes and more.
But I wouldn’t mind being an honorary Saxon, if it meant I could share some of the glory reflected from a newfound hoard of Saxon treasure recently unearthed in Staffordshire. As the story in the New York Times says, the trove of 1,500 gold and silver pieces from the 7th century has “left archaeologists awestruck.” It apparently outshines even the marvellous find at Sutton Hoo.
Because this is the Internet Age, we’re able to see photos of some of the objects: even though they were only found in July, there’s a fully fledged website up and running dedicated to this treasure. All of the photos below come from that site, “The Staffordshire Hoard,” where there are 636 images available. Clicking on an image will give you a larger version.
There’s even a wonderful kicker to the story and a property law aspect as well. The hoard was found by a jobless man on welfare who, with permission, was running his metal detector over a farmer’s field. Terry, the “metal detectorist,” as he is called on the Staffordshire site, will almost certainly have a share in the value of the find — millions of pounds — as will the farmer who owned the land where it was uncovered. The Treasure Act, 1996 governs the situation in England.