Friday, September 25, 2009

My Heart All Aflutter Over Dark Ages Gold Hoard Discovery

I've mentioned before that if you could peek inside my heart, you would see a darkened theatre with the curtains opening and music playing from the orchestra pit.

There's another corner of my heart that holds a Dark Age sword.

Baffle people I must. What can I say? I'm a ballet and sword kind of woman.

As you can imagine, this week's news release about the July discovery of Anglo Saxon gold in a Staffordshire, England field has held me completely enthralled.

"There was absolutely nothing feminine" among the buried hoard, found in rural England, Kevin Leahy of the Portable Antiquities Scheme said in a statement.

"It looks like a collection of trophies," Leahy said. "But it is impossible to say if the hoard was the spoils from a single battle or a long and highly successful military career."

The site once lay at the heart of the old Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia, which existed from the sixth to the tenth century, when it became part of the fledgling Kingdom of England.

The total weight of gold recovered amounts to 11 pounds (5 kilograms)- considerably more than the 3.8 pounds (1.7 kilograms) found at the rich Anglo-Saxon burial site of Sutton Hoo in 1939.
- James Owen, National Geographic

This is a scabbard decoration uncovered at the site.

This is a sword hilt collar.

This is a replica Dark Age sword created by Czech swordsmith Patrick Barta.

Isn't it dreamy?

It's easier to match the recovered authentic pieces to their placement on a sword when you can look at a full-size weapon.

This is a sword hilt collar.

A slightly-mangled sword fitting.

The pommel of the replica sword.

A cheek piece from a battle helmet.

The Sutton Hoo helmet uncovered in 1939

The full-length replica sword and scabbard by Patrick Barta.

Photos from National Geographic by David Rowan

Photos taken at the dig site by

Photo of Sutton Hoo helmet by BBC News

Photos of replica sword by Tomas Balej

Ms Snarky Pants says Alas I think we are sans Anglo Saxon hordes here. hehe

Sara Chapman in Seattle says I had read about the find but had not seen photos. Wow!

Susan Helene Gottfried says That stuff is amazing. I'd love to see it up close.


Lesley Speller said...

It's so exciting! Would that I and my metal detector had found it! :-D Alas I think we are sans Anglo Saxon hordes here. hehe

Sara Chapman in Seattle, USA said...

Thanks for this post. I had read about the find but had not seen photos. Wow!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I see nothing wrong with being into the beauty of ballet and the ruggedness of swordplay. After all, good fencing is an art unto itself.

That stuff is amazing. It's hard to believe it's never been found before now, with all the treasure seekers in the world. I'd love to see it up close.

VaBookworm87 said...

Fantastic! Sometimes I really wish I had just gone with archaeology and not changed my mind to athletic training... and that I was born in England and not boring ol' Virginia lol

Akelamalu said...

It is a fantastic find. It's been all over the news here, obviously. :)

Julia Phillips Smith said...

Ms Snarky Pants - Even the oldest artifacts over here in the New World can't compete with the things to be found in an English farmer's field!

Sara - I can't stop gazing at them...

Susan - As my cousin puts it, I'm complex. Works for me.

VA Bookworm - Like Virginia is boring. Heavens, chile - it's one of the most historic states in all the union! But I know what you mean - when you've outgrown where you've grown up, it really is dull, dull, dull. I see an out-of-state move for you...

Akelamalu - *shiver with delight* It's just SO amazing.

Wylie Kinson said...

I caught this on the news. Very exciting find!! The craftsmanship is amazing.

Kelly Boyce said...

Isn't that awesome! I was floored when I read the article in the newspaper. What a find!

Susan said...

I've been reading all about this discovery too! Both my husband and I said we wanted to go to the museum to see the bits on display, if we could. Lovely pictures, and I so share your enthusiasm!! And romance and war do kind of go together - King Arthur?