Archive for September, 2009

Staffordshire Hoard…need I say more?

September 26, 2009

Alright, we’ve all been rather excited about this for a couple of days. 1500 new (to us, anyway) items to salivate over and study. I just thought I might put down some of my observations after looking through the initial hand list of objects. This can be found, in its 108 page entirety, by following the links on the Anglo-Saxon Archaeology Blog, whose own link can be found to your right. Remember, these are only initial responses. 

The dating of the hoard, based on stylistic elements of some of the objects, is roughly c.650-750. The location, coupled with this putative date, places this find in the context of the Mercian conflict with Northumbria or East Anglia. My first guess would be after 676, when Aethelred turned his attention from his raid on Kent to targets further north. Of course, if this is not the spoils from a single battle or campaign, if it was, as Kevin Leahy points out, the collected treasure “of a long military career,” then some of the pieces could well have come from Kent (Leahy, 6). First glance analysis points to Kent as the possible place of manufacture for a few pieces. This would at least put the beginning of the collection in Wulfhere’s reign, 658-675, or maybe a bit before. I like the “collection” idea, even though I have no idea why it was ultimately planted. Still, we cannot discount the idea that these objects represent the fruit of a single campaign or battle. If this is indeed the case, perhaps the hoard was hidden in response to a pursuing army or force.

I am struck by the absence of coins. I have been through the entire hand list  and found not a single coin. That really puzzles me. Archaeologists, however, have yet to uncover the artifacts from over one hundred “earth lumps.” Jonathan, if you read this, do you have any thoughts on the matter? No coins might seem to lend credence to the collection theory. A few coins would certainly aid in dating the find more firmly. 

Enough for tonight. Be forewarned, as this topic will be taking up a lot more space on this blog. Hopefully, it will drive me to finally learn how to post photos as well!

Leahy, Kevin. Staffordshire Hoard: Discovery and Initial Assesment. (Why won’t my italics work?) URL forthcoming.

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The Thrill Of The Chase!

September 24, 2009

I just wanted to post quickly on the new Anglo-Saxon treasure find in Staffordshire. Over 1500 items were uncovered, making this much larger than Sutton Hoo. There are some interesting aspects to this particular find and I will follow with a longer post after I have digested the reality of this incredible discovery. I have only read the Guardian article announcing the find and have seen the breathtaking photos of some of the pieces. If any of my English friends have more info, or know where to find it, I would really appreciate it. Back shortly!

A Quick One While I’m Away

September 15, 2009

I guess it is that time again. No, not school, though I have plenty there to keep me busy. This appointment might be far worse. Yesterday, in my U.S. History II class, one of my students asked me if I was going to get THAT book. I asked which book he meant. “The new Dan Brown book,” he replied. I had forgotten it was even coming out. Yipes. I remember what I went through with the last Dan Brown book…The rational part of me looks upon this as an opportunity to educate, and for that I want to thank Brown for stirring up people’s interest in history. The cynical part of me wonders if anyone even wants to learn the truth when faced with the showy, exciting, and false world of hero Robert Langdon, and for that I want to curse Brown for stirring up people’s interest in “history.” Magistra et Mater has recently posted a nice series on historical fiction. I won’t go into it here, because I want you to check out her site (you will find the link in my blogroll), but she has some interesting things to say on the subject. Me? I won’t be reading the book anytime soon, if at all, but I will gamely answer the queries of my friends and students, explaining once again that the truth is far more exciting than fiction, and go back to the solace of reading Michael McCormick’s “The Origins of the European Economy” for my thesis. Who says history is boring!

Just Wondering…

September 3, 2009

It might be a few days before I can post something more substantial than this. The semester just started and I am trying to readjust while discovering how busy I will actually be. I do have a request, however. I wonder if someone out there might know of any academic work, journal articles, etc., concerning the Prittlewell Prince. I have yet to find anything and I want to use the case in my thesis. If you run across something, please let me know. I want to thank everyone who has commented on, wished well, or even just visited the site. You have made me feel welcome, indeed. Back in a jiff!