Hello…again: A (brief) dispatch from the land of the ultra-busy.

I do apologize for the absence. I am teaching some this semester, first time on a regular basis, and my own grad classes are keeping me on my toes. Quite the semester, so far, but hopefully I can post more regularly.  Anyway, I know that everyone has had some time to digest something of the ramifications of the Staffordshire find. I know that somewhere, someone has probably posed this question, but I have had as much time to read the blogs as write one, so I will pose it for my own gratification. What, after all, could we stand to learn from the hoard? I doubt we can learn anything about gender relations, for instance, because of the total lack of feminine related items. Trade? Possibly, if we can identify origins for some of the artifacts. Even here, though, we have no way of finding out the mechanism which brought that artifact to Britain and even then, if we do not know to whom the artifact belonged in the first place, we cannot give it any context. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I know we will be studying this find for generations to come, but perhaps the idea that this find would completely rewrite A-S history was a bit of exuberant hyperbole? Still, it will be awfully fun to play with!

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3 Responses to “Hello…again: A (brief) dispatch from the land of the ultra-busy.”

  1. Jonathan Jarrett Says:

    Some very rapid counters :-) If we can work out what the liturgical/ecclesiastical items were doing in the hoard, we get something important about the place and impact of Christianity in the seventh or eighth centuries.If we can attribute the origins of the manufacture we learn stuff about connections and travels of craftsmen; think the Frankish and Byzantine works at Sutton Hoo, for example. If there are no such connections, that’s equally significant.If it can only be dated to some reasonable degree of certainty it will significantly deepen part of our too-scanty narrative about early Mercia, especially if its general point of origin can also be determined—e. g. was this Mercian treasure leaving (or returning to) the kingdom or East Anglian, Northumbrian or Kentish treasure captured?And, most of all, when so much archæogical dating hangs on stylistics, suddenly having a huge increase in material for study is a huge boon: even without a date of deposition, the pattern of development of objects like these will be refined, better understood and other objects of that sort from elsewhere be redated with consequent knock-on effects for the sites and contexts where they were found. If we can also date the hoard itself, as well as placing its components in sequences, those items become fixed points in those sequences and may redefine them all with new terminus ante seu post quem non. And that could affect almost every part of Anglo-Saxon archæology where treasure objects have been involved.How much effect that then has on history is partly down to the historians, but in this period, there is a lot less difference between the two than in some others.

    So: religious history, economic and cultural history but most of all archæological dating, and that last potentially to a massive degree. Exuberant enough, do you think?

  2. Jonathan Jarrett Says:

    Oh: list tags don’t work in comments in this template. Sorry, then, that looks a lot less punctuated than it was meant to.

  3. heptarchyherald Says:

    Yes, Jonathan, exuberant enough! I fear that sometimes my cynicism and ignorance get the better of me.

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