Opening The Treasure Chest



‘There has been a big find of Anglo-Saxon metalwork. Do you want to see it now?’ Duncan Slarke, the Portable Antiquities Scheme’s Finds Liaison Officer for Staffordshire and the West Midlands, took me aside and broke the news.

I was preoccupied with a major exhibition about Matthew Boulton, so I did not take him up on his offer until the following day. Then, standing in our conservation studio, Duncan produced piece after piece of astonishing goldwork from a small pile of plastic storage boxes. My jaw dropped. Each piece would have been a major find in its own right, but they just kept coming and coming. Like everyone else involved with the hoard, I will never forget the experience of seeing it for the first time.

The first pieces of the hoard were discovered near Hammerwich, not far from Lichfield, on 5 July 2009 by Terry Herbert, a local metal-detector. After detecting for a few more days, Terry contacted Duncan, who immediately realised the importance of Terry’s find and informed the county archaeologist for Staffordshire, Ian Wykes. Ian and his colleague Steve Dean visited the site to assess whether more objects might need to be recovered. A spectacular piece of gold decorated with garnets was lying on the surface of the field. Clearly an excavation was essential.

KEYWORDS: Staffordshire Hoard, Mercia, Detectorists, Portable Antiquities, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, BMAG, Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Books

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Anglo Saxons Hoard