Paxtonvic’s Blog

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Thanks from paxtonvic

Hello blog readers – just to say thank you for logging on since May – paxtonvic has just turned 5,000 hits today.

Got a cold so am hiding away and hoping it will clear up soon. Someone said to me today the simple way to diagnose a cold from swine ‘flu:

If you see a £10.00 note on the front lawn you will run and catch it if you have a cold, but if you have ‘flu you wouldnt give a monkeys. Quite right too. Well, I think im up for chasing  £10.00 notes – but I cant see any at the moment.

Want to find out more about that Staffordshire Angl0-Saxon Hoard – sounds fascinating.


Anglo-Saxon gold hoard is the biggest – and could get bigger



This hoard will change lives. Terry Herbert, the finder, and the anonymous landowner will be well compensated: by how much no one knows, but such is the scale of the treasure that when the valuation committee meets, it will have to consider the depressive effect of unleashing on to the market a record quantity of supreme gold artistry. The farmer who not long ago sold the field to its present owner might lose a few nights’ sleep, too.

But what does it mean for the rest of us? How exceptional is the Staffordshire hoard? And how will it change the way we think about our past, about Anglo-Saxon kingship, war, art and the origins of England?

Without question this is the largest group of gold artefacts ever found in British soil. Many of the pieces are of the highest quality design and technique, from a time that excelled in the creation of fine jewellery and weaponry. There really is nothing like it, but it reminds me of a prehistoric find made near Salisbury in the 1980s.

Here, too, archaeologists were staggered by the sheer scale: there were more than 500 bronze items, including curious miniature shields. But that hoard was illegally excavated and sold, and we will never fully understand it. By contrast, thanks to Herbert’s professional skills and attitude, we know everything we could about the Staffordshire gold’s context. That adds immensely to its academic value.

We don’t yet know how big it is. The present list runs to 1,345 objects, including 56 lumps of earth. X-rays show them to be studded with pieces of metal. You can make out tiny decorative animals and jewel settings, but until the lumps are taken apart we will not know what’s there. In other words, archaeologists have the prospect of themselves being able to excavate part of the country’s most spectacular ancient hoard.

As for what it means, at this stage no one knows (a career’s battle spoil from a king’s hall, perhaps?). It represents that cultural maelstrom between the departure of the Romans and the formation of England: think iconic kings like Penda and Aethelbald, carving out Mercia as it becomes one of the most powerful kingdoms in Britain.

Leslie Webster, a former British Museum curator and specialist in Anglo-Saxon culture, saw the treasure last week. “It will make historians, literary scholars, archaeologists and art historians,” she says, “think again about rising (and failing) kingdoms, the transition from paganism to Christianity, the conduct of battle and the nature of fine metalwork – to name only a few of the many huge issues it raises.” And, she adds wistfully, perhaps we’ll all realise “that Anglo-Saxons are different from Vikings – and so much more interesting”.

For now, the discovery is a black hole into which everything we thought we knew about the era, along with the Lindisfarne gospels, the Sutton Hoo treasures and – to take but one small example – a sword handle for which the British Museum paid £125,000 two years ago (there are 310 sword parts in the new hoard), has been swept into disarray. On seeing the find, normally restrained academics immediately began to compare it to Sutton Hoo. And, almost as soon, the process was reversed: “How will this change the way we think about the ship burials?”

Delicate ornament, stunning craftsmanship and gold were like Kalashnikovs in the battle for land and loyalty. Now, 1,300 years on, they command our intellect and our awe. “It’s going to shake up all our ideas,” says Webster. “And what fun that will be!” The Mercian flag is on the march.


Gold strip with biblical inscription


Gold hilt fitting with inlaid garnets


Folded cross – how amazing is that!!

Thanks for the photos from Guardian online

September 24, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. Thank’s Paxxy.
    It’s the first view I’ve managed to have of this fascinating hoard. It looks like it may well shed new light on the level of christalogical influence these “dark age” ancestors of ours actually had, and that will prove extremely interesting I’m sure.

    Sorry to hear about the cold, I detest them, but you women are of course made of sterner stuff than us weaklings. Plenty of hot Whisky toddies, fresh air, and walks. It always does the trick. And if it doesn’t, well, more Whisky and lots of falling about in the fresh air!!!!

    Well done on your 5,000’th.
    Here’s to your 10,000’th.
    Cheers, Wingy.

    Comment by Wingy | September 24, 2009 | Reply

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