The Staffordshire Hoard has now grown by a further 81 pieces, after a Coroner’s Court declared yesterday that the newly found objects were part of the Anglo-Saxon treasure.
South Staffordshire Coroner Andrew Haigh ruled that 81 of the 91 pieces found in the field Hammerwich, near Lichfield were treasure. He discounted eight pieces as “modern” and declared that two further pieces, which were found 40 to 50 metres away from the other pieces were not part of the Hoard.
Mr Haigh commented that “The Staffordshire Hoard was a magnificent find. I very much hope that these further items will be saved for the nation and added to the Hoard.”
In November a team of archaeologists and experienced metal detectorists from Archaeology Warwickshire returned to the field when it was ploughed and recovered further material. Many of these items weigh less than a gram. The collection does however, include a possible helmet cheek piece, a cross- shaped mount and an eagle-shaped mount. These are currently being examined and x-rayed at a specialist archives laboratory. The British Museum’s valuation committee to assess their worth of the new discovery by March.
The new items were found in the same field where over 3,900 pieces of gold, silver and some copper alloy objects were found in 2009. The first discovery was made by Terry Herbert, a metal detectorist who had permission to scan the land.
English Heritage immediately recognised the exceptional significance of the finds and provided emergency funding at the start of the dig together with continued expert advice, support and funding for the research and preservation of the Staffordshire Hoard.
Archaeologists working with Staffordshire County Council later carried out the excavation of the field and discovered the largest ever find of Anglo Saxon gold and silver metal work from this country.
In total the hoard included over 5kg of gold, 1.5kg of silver and thousands of small garnets. They include a bishop’s pectoral cross, a large folded cross, a helmet cheek piece, a filigree seahorse and numerous sword fittings including hilt plates and pommel caps.
Staffordshire County Council leader Philip Atkins, welcomed the coroner’s announcement, saying “It is great news that more pieces of the Hoard have been discovered and the challenge now is to work with our partners to raise the money to make sure the collection stays together in the West Midlands.”
After the Staffordshire Hoard was declared treasure, a huge fundraising campaign was launched to bring the treasure back to the West Midlands.
Over £900,000 was raised through public donations. Staffordshire County Council, Birmingham City Council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Lichfield District Council and Tamworth Borough Council all made donations. The Hoard is now owned by Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Birmingham City Council.
Around one million people have seen the Hoard since it was declared treasure in 2009.