The Staffordshire (Ogley Hay) Hoard: The Find, the Context, the Problems

Antiquity, March 2011 | Go to article overview

The Staffordshire (Ogley Hay) Hoard: The Find, the Context, the Problems


A large and intriguing collection of gold and silver fragments dating mainly to the seventh century AD was found in the parish of Ogley Hay near the south Staffordshire border (England) in 2009 by Mr Terry Herbert, while using a metal detector. With its peculiar composition and uncertain context, the origins and purpose of the Staffordshire Hoard currently remain something of a puzzle.

The collection was probably buried in woodland at the top of a hill beside a Roman road (Watling Street, the current A5), where it remained until the land was deforested and ploughed at an unknown date, but probably after the mid nineteenth century. The assemblage was dominated by pieces of weapons, mainly sword fittings, comprising at least 60 per cent of it by weight. The principal non-military artefacts were an ornamental gold cross, and a strip bearing a Christian inscription.

While the latest objects imply a deposition date in the late seventh or early eighth century, the dates currently proposed on the basis of ornament and epigraphy range over 150 years (late sixth into eighth century). This either suggests that it was gathered over more than a century before burial or that our dating is in need of revision. …

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The Staffordshire (Ogley Hay) Hoard: The Find, the Context, the Problems
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