Archaeologists strike festive gold

By Kevin Unitt Friday 21 December 2012 Updated: 02/01 08:35

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Buy photos » Part of a helmet among the pieces found by archaeologists (s)

ARCHAEOLOGISTS from Warwickshire have struck Christmas gold - but no frankincense and myrrh.

The Anglo-Saxon treasure has been unearthed by archaeologists from the county in the same field where the Staffordshire Hoard was found three years ago.

A team from Archaeology Warwickshire - working for Staffordshire County Council and English Heritage - made the discovery when they carried out a field survey following recent ploughing of the land at Hammerwich near Lichfield. The work included a metal detector survey and gridded fieldwalking by local enthusiasts.

Approximately 90 pieces of gold and silver have been recovered, many weighing less than a gram, and the haul includes a helmet cheek piece, a cross-shaped mount and an eagle-shaped mount.

The items are currently being examined and x-rayed at a specialist archives laboratory. Once examined by experts, a coroner’s inquest will be held to determine if they are part of the original hoard.

County council heritage chief Coun Colin Hayfield, said: “We are justifiably proud that a team of experts from Warwickshire has made this exciting discovery. The Staffordshire Hoard is world famous and we hope these new finds are a significant part of the jigsaw.

“We are now awaiting the results from the laboratory with interest.”

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 English Heritage immediately recognised the exceptional significance of the finds and provided expert advice, support and funding for the research and preservation of the Staffordshire Hoard.

Archaeologists 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.

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 hoard was valued at £3.3 million by independent experts at the British Museum – the most valuable treasure discovery ever made.

It was bought by the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery.

Part of a helmet was among the pieces found by archaeologists from Warwickshire. (s)

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