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Hoard field gives up more gold after land is ploughed

By Tamworth Herald  |  Posted: December 21, 2012

By Paul Kemp

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NEARLY 100 new gold and silver items have been found buried in the same field where the Staffordshire Hoard was unearthed three years ago.

Archaeologists said this week they made the discovery following the recent ploughing of the field off Barracks Lane, Hammerwich – and found a host of items including a possible helmet cheek piece, a cross-shaped mount and an eagle-shaped mount.

All items are now being examined by experts.

South Staffordshire Coroner Andrew Haigh will rule at an inquest on January 4 if the metalwork pieces are part of the Anglo Saxon collection and should be declared treasure.

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Staffordshire County Council Leader Philip Atkins, said: "The Staffordshire Hoard was an amazing discovery, and together with our partners, we have been immensely proud to play our part in helping to discover and tell the story of a collection of such international importance.

"The ploughing of the same field has unearthed a small number of other gold and silver finds. While it is far too early to say exactly what they are, or how old they are, they are certainly interesting finds.

"We will now have to wait for the inquest, to discover if the objects are a significant part of our national history."

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 a metal detectorist, who had permission to scan the land.

Following the discovery three years 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.

The pieces appear to date from the seventh century, although there is some debate among experts as to when the hoard first entered the ground.

The dig was closed when archaeologists were confident they had retrieved everything that was recoverable at the time.

Last month, a team of archaeologists and experienced metal detectorists from Archaeology Warwickshire returned to the field when it was ploughed and recovered further material. These are currently being examined and x-rayed at a specialist archives laboratory.

After the Staffordshire Hoard was declared treasure a huge fundraising campaign was launched to bring the treasure back to the West Midlands.

The Hoard was valued at £3.3m by independent experts at the British Museum – the most valuable treasure discovery ever made. The fundraising campaign was led by The Art Fund, and featured a major donation from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

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.

A programme of conservation and research work is now being carried out by experts at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, in Stoke-on-Trent, to discover the secrets of the Staffordshire Hoard.

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