Sunday, 16 January 2011
The Staffordshire Hoard
It was discovered, little more than twenty miles from here, quite by chance, in the summer of 2009, by a metal detector user working on what he thought might turn out to be the site of a Roman villa. The amazing thing was that it had not been discovered earlier because a major road development had cut through the countryside a few years previously only yards from where the find was eventually made.
Initially the work to uncover the hoard had to be carried out in complete secrecy for fear that the site would attract thieves. Once the news was allowed out, however, interest was immense and for weeks there were queues of people snaking round our local museum in order to get a look at treasure which had been buried over twelve hundred years earlier.
Not everything is military, however. There is a stunning gold cross and several very beautiful rings. One remarkable feature of many of the pieces is that they are studied with beautiful garnets which apparently would have come from India. How did such remarkable gems find their way to England? We can do no more than guess.
Now you can see various exhibits from the hoard in the museums in Stafford and Birmingham and because of the money raised by local people that is where they will remain. I think this is so important. Too often finds make their way into central collections rather staying in the location with which they are associated. They are part of our history and I'm very proud to have them here where they belong.