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Author Topic: Detected treasure stories  (Read 26190 times)

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Offline ebuyc

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Re: Detected treasure stories
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2012, 05:07:41 AM »
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August 2008 - LEICESTERSHIRE, ENGLAND - A treasure hunter was stunned when he unearthed a beautiful and historic gold ring with a rare black diamond set inside it in a muddy field. John Stevens, 42, couldn't believe his eyes when he rubbed off the soil and saw lettering indicating the ring was from the early medieval period, possibly the 11th century. It is believed the ring would have belonged to a wealthy person either from the Church, or possibly even royalty. Black diamonds are rare today and would have been even rarer nearly 1,000 years ago, having come from Africa. The ring has not yet been valued but is thought it could be worth tens of thousands of pounds. It is currently being examined and will go to an inquest where it will almost certainly be recorded as treasure.

Mr Stevens, a businessman from Hinckley, has been metal detecting for 30 years, and this find in his home county of Leicestershire is his most valuable yet. After discovering it he contacted antiquities specialist Brett Hammond from Time Line Originals. Hammond said: "I arranged for him to take it to the finds liaison officer in his area under the portable antiquities scheme. It was clearly an important item of treasure. It is a gold ring possibly containing a rare black diamond. It is a beautiful early medieval inscribed finger ring that would have been owned by a very wealthy person, in the Church or possible even royalty. Common people in that era were not even allowed to own gold, so it must have been owned by a powerful person. The ring has gone to the coroner pending an inquest and if tests show what we think it is a museum will almost certainly be interesting in acquiring it."

Stevens said he was with friends in a ploughed field when he came across the ring about five inches down. He said: "We have a really good relationship with the local farmer who more or less gives us a free reign on any fields that have no crops growing. We had noticed a few days earlier that he was busy ploughing up the field in question, so it at once became our target for the day. I stuck at it for a couple of hours and had only a few interesting artefacts for my efforts. Then I found an Edward halfpenny and hope returned only to fade again as the day yielded rather less than we had hoped for. Some of my friends had switched off their detectors and were walking back to their cars.I was about to join them when I got a really good signal. The others grouped round me as I dropped to my knees and dug to a depth of about five inches, then pulled out a clod of damp soil. From the side of it I could see gold. One of my friends thought it was a bottle top but as my fingers closed on it I knew it had never wrapped around the top of a bottle. It is boldly inscribed with lettering that certainly looks very early medieval to my untrained eye. I don't know yet what the letters spell out, but if they indicate a royal owner it might be worth tens of thousand of pounds."
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Re: Detected treasure stories
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2012, 05:08:42 AM »
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October 2008 - SUMATRA - "The local fishermen believe that there are underwater spirits guarding the wrecks," says Tilman Walterfang, as our boatman picks his way through a maze of coral reefs and submerged rocks. "Sometimes, they perform prayers on the boats, sacrificing a goat, spreading the blood everywhere, to keep the vessel safe."

I am on a fishing boat in the Gaspar Strait, near Belitung Island, off the south-east coast of Sumatra. Since time immemorial, this funnel-shaped passage linking the Java Sea and the Indian Ocean has been one of the two main shipping routes. The Malacca Straits is the other, from China to the West. A British sea captain, shipwrecked here in 1817, called it "the most dangerous area between China and London".

Ten years ago, at a spot known locally as "Black Rock", two men diving for sea cucumbers came across a large pile of sand and coral. Digging a hole, they reached in and pulled out a barnacle-encrusted bowl. Then another. And another. They had stumbled on the oldest, most important, marine archaeological discovery ever made in South East Asia, an Arab dhow - or ship - built of teak, coconut wood and hibiscus fibre, packed with a treasure that Indiana Jones could only dream of.

There were 63,000 pieces of gold, silver and ceramics from the fabled Tang dynasty, which flourished between the seventh and 10th centuries. Among the artefacts was the largest Tang gold cup ever discovered and some of the finest Yue ware - a porcelain that the ancient Chinese likened to snow because of its delicacy.

The exceptional quality of the goods has led some scholars to suggest that these were gifts from the Tang Emperor himself. The bulk of the cargo was more homely, including 40,000 Changsha bowls, named after the Changsha kilns in Hunan Province, where they were produced. Found packed inside tall, earthenware jars, some experts believe bean sprouts were placed between the bowls as a sort of organic bubble-wrap. These brightly painted tea bowls were the Tang equivalent of plastic food containers.

"It looks like they were approaching Tanjung Pandang, the main town on Belitung Island, when they hit the reef," explains Walterfang, the stocky German treasure hunter who salvaged the wreck. The Belitung wreck is a time capsule that has revolutionised our understanding of two ancient civilisations that fill the airwaves today, China and the Middle East

"They may have come here for water or other supplies. Perhaps there was an emergency. Or even an attack by pirates. "But we cannot know. It was nearly 1,200 years ago." Magically, everything was perfectly preserved by a layer of silt. Raised from the seabed more than a millennium later, the gold cups and bronze mirrors, silver boxes and ewers look as fresh as the day they were created.

In 2005, the Singapore government paid more than 20m to acquire the treasure as the centrepiece for a new maritime museum. But it is not just about bling. The Belitung wreck is a time capsule that has revolutionised our understanding of two ancient civilisations that fill the airwaves today - China and the Middle East.

The serial nature of the cargo - 1,000 miniature funeral urns and 800 identical inkpots - shows that China was mass-producing goods for export several centuries earlier than previously thought. The Arab dhow, the first of its kind ever found, proves something equally startling - that mariners from the Persian Gulf were trading on a scale, and over distances, unmatched by human beings until Vasco da Gama set sail for India at the end of the 15th Century. Sinbad the Sailor was for real.

One of the Changsha bowls bore a date stamp, "the 16th Day of the seventh Month of the second Year of the Baoli reign", or AD 826. Carbon-14 analysis of some star anise found in the wreck confirmed this as the probable date of the dhow's departure from China.

Most scholars believe it set sail from Canton, or Guangzhou, as it is today, the largest of the five ports servicing the Maritime Silk Route. No-one knows exactly where the dhow was heading when it struck the coral reef. Its most likely destination was a place familiar to us for other reasons, the Iraqi port of Samara, or Basra as it is called today. In the 9th Century, Basra was one of the wealthiest cities in the world, with a prosperous merchant class hungry for Chinese luxury goods.

Among the most sensational artefacts found in the wreck are three dishes decorated with cobalt from Iran which represent the oldest blue and white ware ever found, setting back by several hundred years the invention of what would become known all over the world simply as "china."
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Re: Detected treasure stories
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2012, 05:09:28 AM »
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November 2008 - AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - A hobbyist with a metal detector struck both gold and silver when he uncovered an important cache of ancient Celtic coins in a cornfield in the southern Dutch city of Maastricht. "It's exciting, like a little boy's dream," Paul Curfs, 47, said Thursday after the spectacular find was made public.

Archaeologists say the trove of 39 gold and 70 silver coins was minted in the middle of the first century B.C. as the future Roman ruler Julius Caesar led a campaign against Celtic tribes in the area.

Curfs said he was walking with his detector this spring and was about to go home when he suddenly got a strong signal on his earphones and uncovered the first coin. "It was golden and had a little horse on it - I had no idea what I had found," he said.

After posting a photo of the coin on a Web forum, he was told it was a rare find. The following day he went back and found another coin. "It looked totally different - silver, and saucer-shaped," he said. Curfs notified the city of his find, and he and several other hobbyists helped in locating the rest of the coins, in cooperation with archaeologists.

Nico Roymans, the archaeologist who led the academic investigation of the find, believes the gold coins in the cache were minted by a tribe called the Eburones that Caesar claimed to have wiped out in 53 B.C. after they conspired with other groups in an attack that killed 6,000 Roman soldiers. The Eburones "put up strong resistance to Caesar's journeys of conquest," Roymans said.

The silver coins were made by tribes further to the north - possible evidence of cooperation against Caesar, he said. Both coin types have triple spirals on the front, a common Celtic symbol. The two other known caches of Eburones coins have been found in neighboring Belgium and Germany.

Maastricht city spokeswoman Carla Wetzels said the value of the coins is not known - their worth is primarily historical. The Belgian cache of similar size was estimated at around 175,000 euros ($220,000).

The farmer who owned the land agreed to sell his interest to the city for an undisclosed sum. Curfs, a teacher at a nearby junior college, continues to own the 11 coins he found, but has lent them to the City of Maastricht on a long-term basis. The coins will go on display at the Centre Ceramique museum in Maastricht this weekend.
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Re: Detected treasure stories
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2012, 05:10:14 AM »
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November 2008 - LONDON, ENGLAND - An amateur treasure hunter hit gold when he found an Iron Age collar worth more than 350,000 pounds sterling (414,000 euros, 520,000 dollars) in a field, a newspaper reported Thursday.

Maurice Richardson, who unearthed the 2,200-year-old gold collar near Newark will not get to keep it but has received an undisclosed reward and his lucky find has been acquired by his local museum. "I was only in the field because a customer kept me late," Richardson, a tree surgeon, told the Guardian newspaper. "Normally I'd never want to go into this field because a plane crashed there in the last war, and the whole place is littered with bits of metal."

Richardson's first discovery in the field was a piece of World War Two scrap metal but as he bent down to throw it away, his metal detector emitted a louder beep. It was then that he discovered the collar, which was hailed by a leading expert as one of the most important finds of its kind in years.

"It's a fabulous thing, the best Iron Age find in 50 years," J.D. Hill, head of the British Museum in London's Iron Age department, told the paper. "When I first saw a picture of it, I thought somebody was pulling my leg because it is so like the Sedgeford torc in our collection that it must have been made by the same hand.

"What is fascinating about it is that it turned up where no torc should be -- to put it mildly, the Newark region is not known for major high-status Iron Age finds." The BBC reported that the necklace was the most expensive single piece of treasure found by a member of the public in over a decade.
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Re: Detected treasure stories
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2012, 05:10:49 AM »
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December 2008 - JERUSALEM - The Israel Antiquities Authority reported a thrilling find Sunday -- the discovery of 264 ancient gold coins in Jerusalem National Park. The coins were minted during the early 7th century.

"This is one of the largest and most impressive coin hoards ever discovered in Jerusalem, certainly the largest and most important of its period," said Doron Ben-Ami and Yana Tchekhanovets, who are directing the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Researchers discovered the coins at the beginning of the eight-day Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, which started at sunset on Sunday. One of the customs of the holiday is to give "gelt," or coins, to children, and the archaeologists are referring to the find as "Hanukkah money."

The 1,400-year-old coins were found in the Giv'ati car park in the City of David in the walls around Jerusalem National Park, a site that has yielded other finds, including a well-preserved gold earring with pearls and precious stones.

They were in a collapsed building that dates back to the 7th century, the end of the Byzantine period. The coins bear a likeness of Heraclius, who was the Byzantine emperor from 610 to 641. In that style, the emperor is clad with military garb and is holding a cross in his right hand. One the other side, there is the sign of the cross.

Authorities said the excavation of the building where the hoard was discovered is in its early stages. They are attempting to learn about the building and its owner and the circumstances of its destruction. "Since no pottery vessel was discovered adjacent to the hoard, we can assume that it was concealed inside a hidden niche in one of the walls of the building. It seems that with its collapse, the coins piled up there among the building debris," Ben-Ami and Tchekhanovets said.
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Re: Detected treasure stories
« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2012, 05:11:22 AM »
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January 2009 - SUFFOLK, ENGLAND - One of the UK's largest hauls of Iron Age gold coins, which would have been worth in today's money up to 1m, has been found in Suffolk. The 824 so-called staters were found in a broken pottery jar buried in a field near Wickham Market by a local man using a metal detector.

Jude Plouviez, of the Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service, said the coins dated from 40BC to AD15. They are thought to have been minted by predecessors of Iceni Queen Boudicca. Ms Plouviez said their value when in circulation had been estimated at a modern equivalent of between 500,000 and 1m, but they were likely to be worth less than that now.

"It's a good, exciting find. It gives us a lot of new information about the late Iron Age, and particularly East Anglia in the late Iron Age. The discovery is important because it highlights the probable political, economic and religious importance of an area. It certainly suggests there was a significant settlement nearby. As far as we understand, it was occupied by wealthy tribes or subtribes," she said.

Ms Plouviez said the find was the largest collection of Iron Age gold coins found in Britain since 1849, when a farm worker unearthed between 800 and 2,000 gold staters in a field near Milton Keynes. She said secret excavations had been carried out on the latest find in Suffolk after a man reported it to the council's archaeological service in October.

The staters, which each weigh about 5g, will now be valued ahead of a treasure trove inquest. "We don't know how much they will be worth but it will be less than they were at the time," said Ms Plouviez.

"After the treasure trove inquest, they will be offered to museums at their current value." She said the exact location of the find would not be made public but added "thorough" searches of the area had not uncovered any further artefacts.
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Re: Detected treasure stories
« Reply #16 on: December 18, 2012, 05:12:04 AM »
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June 2009 - HERTFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND - After seven years of combing fields and beaches with a metal detector, the only thing housewife Mary Hannaby had to show for her hobby was an old dental plate. But all those efforts paid off when her first proper find turned out to be a 15th-century gold treasure valued at 250,000 or more. The find is thought to be part of a high-quality reliquary or pendant, and depicts the Holy Trinity.

Mrs Hannaby, 57, from Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, heard her metal detector's tell-tale beep while out on one of her regular six-hour Sunday detecting walks with her son, woodcarver Michael, 33.

For 500 years, the treasure had lain buried four inches below the ground, despite repeated ploughing. The discovery is all the more astonishing as this was not the first time the Hannabys had scoured the arable field between Ashridge and Great Gaddesden.

"You get a buzz every time you get a signal, but chances are it won't be anything," said Mrs Hannaby. "This time, it popped up all of a sudden," said her son. "You can literally miss things by inches. We couldn't believe it. We always dreamed of finding treasure." And the pair struck gold again when the landowner refused Mrs Hannaby's offer to split the money equally and said he wanted only 30 per cent, saying he would never have known about the treasure if not for her.

Under the Treasure Act of 1996, finders must report potential treasure such as gold and silver objects more than 300 years old. Finders are offered the market value for their discoveries which museums have first option to buy.

At 2.8cm by 2.3cm, the treasure is barely larger than a postage stamp, but its importance is exciting experts. Roger Bland, head of treasure at the British Museum, describes it as an 'important find', and regrets that the museum does not currently have the funds to buy it.

Carolyn Miner, sculpture specialist at Sotheby's, was 'awestruck' when the Hannabys first showed the treasure to her and will auction it in London on July 9. As one of only three of its kind to have survived, the find could be worth even more than 250,000, and its engraving is being compared to that of the Middleham Jewel, which sold at auction for 1.3 million in 1986, and was later resold to the Yorkshire Museum for 2.5 million.
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Re: Detected treasure stories
« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2012, 05:12:41 AM »
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August 2009 - YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND - Two amateur diggers in northern England have together pocketed 541,000 pounds ($878,000) for finding the most important Viking treasure of its kind in 150 years, soon to go on show at the British Museum.

Metal-detector users David and Andrew Whelan, a father-and- son team, uncovered the hoard in 2007, in Harrogate, Yorkshire, and handed it to the local representative of a national program that registers archaeological finds. The treasure was valued at 1.08 million pounds and has been bought for the nation, with the money split between the finders and landowner.

Andrew Whelan, a 37-year-old real-estate surveyor, recalled setting out on a "fairly typical dreary January day" with his retired father to scour a field that had never yielded anything. Shortly after arriving, David ran over to say hed hit a hoard.

"The first thing that we found was the bowl, a cup. There were bits of silver chains poking through, and just the edge of a couple of coins," said Andrew Whelan in an interview. He described seeing ingots, a gold bracelet, and perfectly stacked coins. The treasure was placed in plastic Tupperware, taken home, and reported.

The treasure consists of 67 precious-metal objects including bracelets, ornaments, and ingots; 617 coins -- and the gilt silver vessel that contained most of the smaller objects, according to the British Museum. The vessel was made in France or Germany in the mid-9th century, and seems to have been intended for church services.
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Re: Detected treasure stories
« Reply #18 on: December 18, 2012, 05:13:24 AM »
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September 2009 - SHROPSHIRE, ENGLAND - A massive haul of more than 10,000 Roman coins has been unearthed by an amateur metal detecting enthusiast - on his first ever treasure hunt. The silver and bronze "nummi" coins, dating from between 240AD and 320AD, were discovered in a farmer's field near Shrewsbury, in Shropshire, last month. Finder Nick Davies, 30, was on his first treasure hunt when he discovered the coins, mostly crammed inside a buried 70 lb clay pot.

Experts say the coins have spent an estimated 1,700 years underground. The stunning collection of coins, most of which were found inside the broken brown pot, was uncovered by Nick during a search of land in the Shrewsbury area - just a month after he took up the hobby of metal detecting.

His amazing find is one of the largest collections of Roman coins ever discovered in Shropshire. And the haul could be put on display at Shrewsbury's new 10million heritage centre, it was revealed today. It is also the biggest collection of Roman coins to be found in Britain this year.

Nick, from Ford, Shropshire, said he never expected to find anything on his first treasure hunt - especially anything of any value. He recalled the discovery and described it as "fantastically exciting." Nick said: "The top of the pot had been broken in the ground and a large number of the coins spread in the area. "All of these were recovered during the excavation with the help of a metal detector. "This added at least another 300 coins to the total - it's fantastically exciting. I never expected to find such treasure on my first outing with the detector."

The coins have now been sent to the British Museum for detailed examination, before a report is sent to the coroner. Experts are expected to spend several months cleaning and separating the coins, which have fused together. They will also give them further identification before sending them to the coroner. A treasure trove inquest is then expected to take place next year. Peter Reavill, finds liaison officer from the Portable Antiquities Scheme, records archaeological finds made by the public in England and Wales. He said the coins were probably payment to a farmer or community at the end of a harvest. Speaking to the Shropshire Star, Mr Reavill said the coins appear to date from the period 320AD to 340AD, late in the reign of Constantine I. He said: "The coins date to the reign of Constantine I when Britain was being used to produce food for the Roman Empire. It is possible these coins were paid to a farmer who buried them and used them as a kind of piggy-bank."

Mr Reavill said that among the coins were issues celebrating the anniversary of the founding of Rome and Constantinople. In total the coins and the pot weigh more than 70lb. He added: "This is probably one of the largest coin hoards ever discovered in Shropshire. The finder, Nick Davies, bought his first metal detector a month ago and this is his first find made with it. The coins were placed in a very large storage jar which had been buried in the ground about 1,700 years ago." However, Mr Reavill declined to put a figure on either the value of the coins or the pot until the findings of the inquest are known, but he described the discovery as a "large and important" find. Mr Reavill said the exact location of the find could not be revealed for security reasons.
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Re: Detected treasure stories
« Reply #19 on: December 18, 2012, 05:14:50 AM »
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September 2009 - LONDON, ENGLAND - A man using a metal detector in a rural English field has uncovered the largest Anglo-Saxon gold hoard ever found -- an "unprecedented" treasure that sheds new light on history, archaeologists said Thursday. The hoard includes 5 kilograms (11 pounds) of gold and 2.5 kilograms (5.5 pounds) of silver. That is more than three times the amount of gold found at Sutton Hoo, one of Britain's most important Anglo-Saxon sites, said the local council in Staffordshire where the latest haul was found.

It's an "incredible collection of material -- absolutely unprecedented," said Kevin Leahy, an archaeologist with the Portable Antiquities Scheme, a voluntary group that records finds made by members of the public. "We've moved into new ground with this material." Because the find is so large and important, experts haven't been able to say yet how much it is worth. They hope to make a valuation within 13 months, Staffordshire Council said.

The hoard was first discovered in July by Englishman Terry Herbert, who was using a metal detector he bought more than a decade ago in a jumble sale for only a few pounds (dollars). He belongs to a local metal detecting club in Staffordshire and was just out enjoying his hobby when he made the find. There was so much gold at the site that Herbert said he was soon seeing it in his sleep. "Imagine you're at home and somebody just keeps putting money through your letterbox. That's what it was like," Herbert told Britain's Press Association. "As soon as I closed my eyes I saw gold patterns. I didn't think it was ever going to end."

Herbert found 500 items before he called in experts, who then found a further 800 articles in the soil. Officials aren't saying exactly where the gold was found, other than to say it was in Staffordshire, in north-central England. "Pieces were just literally sat at the top of the soil, at the grass," said Ian Wykes, of the county council. He said the hoard had been unearthed by recent plowing.

Most of the pieces appear to date from the 7th century, though experts can't agree on when the hoard first entered the ground, Staffordshire Council said. The pieces are almost all war gear, Leahy said. There are very few dress fittings and no feminine dress fittings; there are only two gold buckles, and they were probably used for harness armor, he said. Sword hilt fittings and pieces of helmets, all elaborately decorated, are among the more remarkable finds.

"The quantity of gold is amazing but, more importantly, the craftsmanship is consummate," Leahy said. "This was the very best that the Anglo-Saxon metalworkers could do, and they were very good. Tiny garnets were cut to shape and set in a mass of cells to give a rich, glowing effect; it is stunning." The items belonged to the elite -- aristocracy or royalty, he said, though it's not clear who the original or final owners were, why they buried it, or when. "It looks like a collection of trophies, but it is impossible to say if the hoard was the spoils from a single battle or a long and highly successful military career," he said.

More work will help determine how the hoard came to be buried in the field, Leahy said. Many of the objects are inlaid with garnets, which Leahy called "stunning" and "as good as it gets." The filigree on the items is "incredible," he said. Some are decorated in an Anglo-Saxon style consisting of strange animals intertwined with each other. That decoration appears on what is believed to be the cheek-piece of a helmet, decorated with a frieze of running, interlaced animals.

A strip of gold bearing a Biblical inscription in Latin is one of the most significant and controversial finds, Staffordshire Council said. One expert believes the lettering dates from the 7th or early 8th centuries, but another is sure it dates from the 8th or 9th centuries. The inscription, misspelled in places, is probably from the Book of Numbers and reads: "Surge domine et dissipentur inimici tui et fugiant qui oderunt te a facie tua," or "Rise up, o Lord, and may thy enemies be dispersed."

Regardless of the exact date, the hoard is certainly from a period of great turmoil, when kingdoms with tribal loyalties battled each other in a state of perpetual warfare, experts say. The land was also split along religious lines. Christianity was the principal religion, having gained ground at the expense of local pagan forms of worship, experts said. At least two crosses are among the items in the hoard. The largest is intact, though it has been folded, possibly to make it fit into a small space prior to burial, Staffordshire Council said. The folding may mean it was buried by pagans who had little respect for the Christian symbol, but it may have also been done by Christians who had taken it from someone else's shrine, experts said.

The hoard will likely help rewrite history, experts said. "Earlier finds will be looked at in the context of what we find amongst this mass of material," Leahy said. Said Leslie Webster, the former keeper of the Department of Prehistory and Europe at the British Museum, "This is going to alter our perceptions of Anglo-Saxon England."

Excavation of the field where the hoard was found is now complete, and all items that were found are being held at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. The most important objects will go on exhibit from Friday until October 13, after which they will go to the British Museum in London for valuation.

Once the items have been valued, Staffordshire Council said it hopes a selection of the pieces can go on temporary display at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent. Once the hoard is sold, the market value of the find will go to Herbert and the owner of the field where the hoard was discovered. The pair have agreed to split the amount.
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