Britain’s most spectacular Anglo-Saxon treasures may well
have been captured on a series of Dark Age battlefields – during bitter
conflicts between rival English kingdoms.
Archaeologists, who have just completed a major study of the finds, now believe that they were captured in several big mid-seventh century battles.
It is likely that the treasures, now known as the Staffordshire Hoard, were seized (in perhaps between three and six substantial military encounters) by the English midlands kingdom of Mercia from the kingdoms of Northumbria, East Anglia and possibly Wessex.
The hoard – the greatest Anglo-Saxon golden treasure ever found – is one of the most important archaeological discoveries ever made in Britain.
After 10 years of detailed research, archaeologists are to publish a complete account of the hundreds of high status gold and silver objects found by a metal detectorist a decade ago in a field in southeast Staffordshire.
The book – published by the world’s oldest historical organisation, the Society of Antiquaries of London – describes all of the hoard’s 700 objects (4kg of gold items and 1.7kg of silver ones).