EBK Activity Sheets

 


Why hide all that Gold in Anglo-Saxon Stafforshire
in a Staffordshire field


Eagles eating Fish Plaque from the Staffordshire Hoard -  Nash Ford Publishing

Sword Hilt Plate from the Staffordshire Hoard -  Nash Ford Publishing

 

 

 
  • Archaeologists are still looking closely at the objects from the Staffordshire Hoard. They want to see what they can tell us about life in this part of Anglo-Saxon England.
  • Lichfield is the nearest town to the field where the hoard was found. It was an important Christian centre in Anglo-Saxon times. The cathedral there was founded by St. Chad in AD 669.
  • Lichfield is near Tamworth. This town became the capital of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Mercia in the late 6th century.
  • The objects in the Staffordshire Hoard are very expensive. The garnets probably came from Sri Lanka, half-way round the World.
  • Like at Sutton Hoo, the objects must have belonged to the richest of people, probably kings, princes and nobles. There were no ladies' things.
  • The objects were probably broken off the armour and weapons of warriors killed in battle.
  • Objects like this are called 'spoils' or 'booty'. They are talked about in a famous Anglo-Saxon poem called 'Beowulf'.
  • They may have been collected together so they could be used again to make new weapons and armour for the winning side.
  • There were also Christian objects. They had been crushed. So perhaps they were collected by pagans.
  • The crosses may have been carried by priests in front of an army, so that God would help them win.
  • Most of the objects seem to be from the 7th century.
  • In about AD 630, the pagan King Penda of Mercia made an alliance (an agreement to work together) with the British Christian king, Cadwallon of Gwynedd (North Wales).
  • They marched to Northumbria and defeated its Christian king, Edwin, and his armies in many battles. They took over Northumbria for about four years. They stripped it of all its riches, then went home. Was the hoard booty from Northumbria?
  • Hoards (buried collections) of precious metals, jewels and other valuable objects were usually buried for safety during times of war, particularly when there were raids by foreign armies.
  • In AD 655, King Penda was killed in battle and the Northumbrians took over Mercia for three years. Was this when the hoard was buried to keep it safe? What do you think?
  • Activity Sheet available.

 

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