The Staffordshire Hoard and the History of Seventh-Century England
Lecture by Barbara Yorke
Given online by the Royal Archaeological Institute on June 22, 2021
Abstract: The publication of The Staffordshire Hoard. An Anglo-Saxon Treasure, ed. Chris Fern, Tania Dickinson and Leslie Webster (Society of Antiquaries, 2019) was a milestone in the study of the hoard, some ten years after the hoard’s discovery in Staffordshire by a metal-detectorist. The volume is first and foremost a catalogue of the remarkable finds. Some background chapters were provided, but there was not the space to explore fully its potential for illuminating the history of seventh-century England.
This lecture will give a historian’s perspective on how the hoard develops our understanding of topics such as kingship, overlordship, warfare, assemblies, the impact of Christianity and the world of heroic verse. Many mysteries will remain and often a range of possible interpretations has to be kept in mind, but the hoard has much to add to the dialogue between written sources and archaeological evidence for the formative and fast-moving period of the seventh century.
Barbara Yorke is Emeritus Professor of Early Medieval History at the University of Winchester. Click here to view her university webpage.