Friday, August 13, 2010

Staffordshire Hoard Origins

I was talking about the Staffordshire Hoard in class yesterday, when the subject of its origins came up. I had previously heard two, opposing theories:
  1. That the hoard had been stripped from the losers' weapons by the winners. This seems pretty plausible, until you ask the question -- wait, the winners lost a huge hoard of gold and silver and didn't go back to find it? Surely the hoard would have been too heavy and bulky for just one guy to carry, so several guys lost it?
  2. That the hoard had been stripped from the losers' weapons and buried for safekeeping by the losers themselves, but everyone who knew where it was died in the battle. Again, plausible, but I'm trying to imagine a scenario in which you're in the middle of a battle, losing, then take a time-out to strip your weapon and bury the appointments.
After class, though, I realized that I heard these two theories in the fall -- in other words, shortly after the Hoard's discovery. These weren't fully-developed ideas; they were probably just barely beyond the point of speculation, whipped up on the fly.

Now that a year has passed and specialists have had time to examine and discuss the Hoard a bit more carefully, has some sort of consensus been reached as to the Hoard's origins? Have either of the above explanations been further developed, or has some third explanation perhaps emerged?


  1. There was a symposium earlier this summer on the hoard, which unfortunately I could not attend. Guy Halsall attended, gave a paper, and posted it on his blog:

  2. Anonymous11:32 AM

    Dr Nokes, to the best of my knowledge, Kevin Leahy, who is the official spokesman for the project, has not changed his views now that everything is cleaned and catalogued, although the silver (which seems mainly to be scrap fragments) should alter his perspectives, in my view. A full-scale scholarly re-evaluation is probably going to have to wait for full publication, which is still some way off.

    A little while after the initial press release I started a short debate about the Hoard on Cliopatria, which may be of use to you. I certainly think that this is not the aftermath of a battle; there is too much stuff from very fine weapons that would never have been at one battle in such numbers together. It is an accumulation; but how it got there and whence I really can't guess. I like the idea that it was stolen, simply because that needs fewer people to have died before being able to recover it. If lots of people knew where it was buried it seems unthinkable to me that it would have remained for us to find. However, the jury is still out I think.

    Also: Guy Halsall has a blog! How did I not know this? Thankyou Michael!