Ian Weightman

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The Hoard just got bigger

Several more objects have been uncovered in the same field where the Staffordshire Hoard was unearthed three years ago.  Archaeologists working for English Heritage and Staffordshire’s county council made the discovery when they were on-site, following recent ploughing of the same field, close to Lichfield.

In total, some 90 pieces of gold and silver were unearthed.  And although many of the items weighed less than a gram, the collection does include some more significant finds, including a possible helmet cheek piece, a cross-shaped mount and an eagle-shaped mount.

An inquest earlier this month judged that the metalwork pieces are, indeed, a part of the same Anglo Saxon collection known as The Staffordshire Hoard, and should be declared as “treasure”.

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

Following that initial discovery, English Heritage immediately recognised the exceptional significance of the finds and provided emergency funding at the start of the dig; and they have continued to offer expert advice, support and funding for the research and preservation of the Staffordshire Hoard ever since.

It was the largest ever find of Anglo Saxon gold and silver metal work from this country, and included over 5kg of gold, 1.5kg of silver and thousands of small garnets.  They include a bishops pectoral cross, a large folded cross, a helmet cheek piece, a filigree seahorse and numerous sword fittings including hilt plates and pommel caps.

The archaeologists were confident they had retrieved everything that was recoverable at the time, and the dig was closed.  But in December of last year, a team of archaeologists and experienced metal detectorists returned to the field when it was ploughed and discovered more items to add to the Hoard.

The Staffordshire Hoard has already been valued at £3.3m by independent experts at the British Museum – making it the most valuable treasure discovery ever made.

Today, it’s Stoke-on-Trent where visitors to Staffordshire are able to see a Staffordshire Hoard: Dark Age Discovery exhibition - in The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery.

The Staffordshire Hoard went out on tour to the National Geographic Museum in Washington DC last year.  But the current exhibition in Stoke-on-Trent is now on show every day, up to September 1st 2013.

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