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New finds discovered in Staffordshire Hoard field

New finds discovered in Staffordshire Hoard field

🕔18.Dec 2012
Curated from, written by geoffc

678 HorseyMore buried objects have been uncovered in a field where the Staffordshire Hoard was unearthed three years ago.

Archaeologists working for Staffordshire County Council and English Heritage made the discovery when they were on site following the recent ploughing of the same field at Hammerwich, near Lichfield.

Approximately 90 pieces of gold and silver have been recovered in this work; many of these items weigh less than a gram. The collection does, however, include a possible helmet cheek piece, a cross-shaped mount and an eagle-shaped mount, these items are now being examined by experts.

South Staffordshire Coroner Andrew Haigh will rule at an inquest on January 4 if the metalwork pieces are part of the Anglo Saxon collection and should be declared treasure.

Staffordshire County Council Leader Philip Atkins, said: “The Staffordshire Hoard was an amazing discovery, and together with our partners, we have been immensely proud to play our part in helping to discover and tell the story of a collection of such international importance.

“The ploughing of the same field has unearthed a small number of other gold and silver finds. While it is far too early to say exactly what they are, or how old they are, they are certainly interesting finds.

“We will now have to wait for the inquest, to discover if the objects are a significant part of our national history.”

The new items were found in the same field where over 3,900 pieces of gold, silver and some copper alloy objects were found in 2009. The first discovery was made by a metal detectorist, who had permission to scan the land.

Following the discovery three years English Heritage immediately recognised the exceptional significance of the finds and provided emergency funding at the start of the dig together with continued expert advice, support and funding for the research and preservation of the Staffordshire Hoard.

Archaeologists working with Staffordshire County Council later carried out the excavation of the field and discovered the largest ever find of Anglo Saxon gold and silver metal work from this country.

In total the hoard included over 5kg of gold, 1.5kg of silver and thousands of small garnets.

They include a bishop’s pectoral cross, a large folded cross, a helmet cheek piece, a filigree seahorse and numerous sword fittings including hilt plates and pommel caps.

The pieces appear to date from the seventh century, although there is some debate among experts as to when the hoard first entered the ground.

The dig was closed when archaeologists were confident they had retrieved everything that was recoverable at the time.

Last month, a team of archaeologists and experienced metal detectorists from Archaeology Warwickshire returned to the field when it was ploughed and recovered further material. These are currently being examined and x-rayed at a specialist archives laboratory.

After the Staffordshire Hoard was declared treasure a huge fundraising campaign was launched to bring the treasure back to the West Midlands.

The Hoard was valued at £3.3m by independent experts at the British Museum – the most valuable treasure discovery ever made. The fundraising campaign was led by The Art Fund, and featured a major donation from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

Over £900,000 was raised through public donations. Staffordshire County Council, Birmingham City Council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Lichfield District Council and Tamworth Borough Council all made donations.

A programme of conservation and research work is now being carried out by experts at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, in Stoke-on-Trent, to discover the secrets of the Staffordshire Hoard.

Photos of the find attached to this email. More available on request. Please credit photographer Vivienne Bailey


Notes to editors

For media enquiries please call the Staffordshire County Council Communications Office on 01785 895050 E-Mail:

The Staffordshire Hoard is the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver metalwork ever found, anywhere in the world.

Discovered in a field near the village of Hammerwich, on 5 July 2009, it consists of more than 3,900 items.

The artefacts have tentatively been dated to the 7th or 8th centuries, placing the origin of the items in the time of the Kingdom of Mercia. Since the find, The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery are leading research and conservation programmes to help address questions such as how the treasure came to be buried in a Staffordshire field, who did it belong to, and how such stunningly intricate artefacts were made at a time when tools were primitive. This work is ongoing.

The average quality of the workmanship is extremely high, and especially remarkable in view of the large number of individual objects, such as swords or helmets, from which the elements in the hoard came.

The closest parallel archaeological find to the Staffordshire Hoard is Sutton Hoo, in Suffolk. The great burial of a prince or king, it was unearthed in 1939.

A biblical inscription from an item in the hoard is written in Latin and is misspelled in two places, and reads ‘Rise up, o Lord, and may thy enemies be scattered and those who hate thee … be dispersed and those who hate you be driven from your face.’

Since its discovery, the treasure has been exhibited at more than 15 venues, including museums in the West Midlands, a castle and a cathedral, and has been viewed by around one million people. All this at a time when research and conservation work is also taking place to understand the artefacts – a unique achievement for a unique treasure.

It has been displayed to great acclaim in Washington D.C. and in just the first three weeks of being exhibited in The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, attracted an audience of 55,000 people – many who queued for more than four hours to glimpse the unparalleled artefacts, making it the most successful exhibition ever at the museum.

Questions and Answers

When did the latest fieldwork start?
Fieldwork commenced on November 19 after the field had been ploughed. Archaeologists, working on behalf of Staffordshire County Council were on site to carry out the planned dig. This was completed on December 1.

Who was involved – how many archaeologists on site, for how long?
The fieldwork (which covered the entire field) was led by Archaeology Warwickshire who worked with a team of metal detectorists who have previously worked on a number of extremely sensitive sites such as the battlefields of Hastings and Bosworth. The subsequent phase of field walking was led by Archaeology Warwickshire with local volunteers from Hammerwich and the Stoke-on-Trent Museum Archaeology Society.

How big is the field?
The field is 5.5 hectares (13.69 acres) in size. This time we carried out a detailed metal detecting survey using experienced detectorists. Of the latest pieces, what are the most interesting? The possible cheek piece is the most interesting simply because it looks to complete the pair. The remainder are generally small items. One small eagle mount and a cross-shaped mount is present but, given the amount of material within the hoard it is possible there are similar examples within the collection.

Is there any “treasure” left?
It is important to remember that while these finds are very exciting they have not been declared part of the Hoard or even treasure and it would be presumptuous to suggest otherwise. There is a very slim chance that further tiny fragments may be buried deeper within the plough soil which the latest survey was unable to detect. However, these would not be detectable by normal means and would be so small that they would have little historical value. This is private land so any further work would need to be carried out with permission of the owner. Any small fragments found, if declared treasure, would fall under the “ownership” of the landowner and the original metal detectorist.

What happens next – what is the process of the inquest?
The coroner will convene a treasure inquest to determine the circumstances of the find, whether it constitutes treasure, does it belong to the previous hoard etc… If the find is declared part of the original hoard then this will then form part of the previous find. If this material is part of the previous hoard then any proceeds of the sale of these items will be shared between the original finder and the landowner.

If it is declared treasure what happens to the artefacts?
If the material is declared treasure the British Museum or local/regional museums have the opportunity to acquire the items. During this time the material will be retained at the British Museum. The treasure will then be valued at the BM by the Treasure Valuation Committee. The committee commission a valuation from one or more relevant experts and a figure is determined.

What are they worth and who gets the proceeds when they are sold?
It is impossible to say what the material is worth at present and any such statement could prejudice the work of the Treasure Valuation Committee. If the material is determined to be part of the Staffordshire Hoard then any proceeds will be split evenly between the landowner and the finder. If this material is a separate hoard of treasure then the landowner only would receive the award. At no point may archaeologists make a claim.

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  • Video: Staffordshire Hoard conservation update
  • See the Staffordshire Hoard
  • Staffordshire Hoard interview
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