Thursday, October 8, 2009

Anyone Can Become a Treasure Hunter

An amateur treasure hunter in Staffordshire, England has unearthed Anglo-Saxon gold and silver artifacts in a farmer's field. The Anglo-Saxons were a Germanic tribe who invaded England after the Roman Empire fell and ruled from the fifth century to 1066 when there was a Norman Invasion; their cultural influence is still felt throughout the English-speaking world. The discovery, which contains as many as 1,500 artifacts, offers new insight into the world of the Anglo-Saxons and “it will make us rethink the Dark Ages,” says Roger Bland who managed the cache’s excavation. Among the treasure are intricately designed helmet crests includes running animals, enamel studded sword fittings, and one gold band with a biblical inscription in Latin calling on God to drive away the bearer’s enemies. Anglo-Saxon artisans made striking objects out of gold and enamel, and their language is a precursor of modern English. The cache was discovered in what was once Mercia, one of five main Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, and thought to date between 675 and 725. Terry Herbert, the unemployed metal-detecting enthusiast, said the discovery “was more fun than winning the lottery.”
-Alicia P., period 7

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