Friday, September 25, 2009

Did a 'Pagan' Bury the Staffordshire Hoard?

The "Staffordshire Hoard" is a cache of 7th-century Anglo-Saxon sword jewels and other items recently found in England (and a great boost for metal-detector sales, no doubt).

The caption on one slide of the golden hoard suggests that because a gold cross was folded in on itself before burial, the person who buried the treasure might well have been (wait for it) a "pagan."

England was becoming Christian by then, although the Norse were not. But I think he (?), whether Pagan or Christian, might as well have been looking at the cross as so much gold rather than superstitiously thinking he would be smitten if he deformed it.

Here is another slide show. Magnificent stuff. How long until we see Ren Faire reproductions?

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Anonymous Rombald said...

The news about the hoard here in England is a bit odd. Some of the archaeologists seem to have been bitten by the media bug. There also seems to be some sensitivity about the religion. Some pieces are Christian, and seem to have been deliberately defaced, but no-one seems to want to discuss this on TV.

The items were found over an area of a couple of dozen square yards, which doesn't sound like a hoard, unless they'd been disturbed, but then one would have expected some pieces to have turned up earlier. Someone on an e-mail group has suggested that they could have been a ritual sacrifice at a battlefield - I don't know how likely this is.

The find was near Lichfield (a town near Birmingham), which was the capital of Mercia, and Penda, who died in 667, was the last major Pagan English king. I wonder whether this find might be something to do with the Christian/Pagan showdown.

The finds are on display at Birmingham Museum for a few weeks, and I'm toying with the idea of going to have a look, although I can't say it's a city I particulary want to visit, and it's a bit far to drive there and back in a day.

BTW: What have the Norse got to do with it?

7:53 AM  
Anonymous Rombald said...

Penda was the king of Mercia.

7:55 AM  
Anonymous Chas S. Clifton said...

What have the Norse to do with it? Just a timeline comparison, that's all.

Thanks for the additional information. If I were you, I would make the trip!

8:51 AM  

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