Barbican Research Associates
providing an integrated post-excavation service for the archaeological community
The Staffordshire Hoard attracted world-wide attention when it was found by a metal detectorist in the summer of 2009. It consisted of approximately 6kg of gold and silver fittings mainly from swords which could be dated to the seventh century. Nothing quite like it had ever been found in Anglo-Saxon England before. A national appeal raised the purchase price and it is currently jointly owned by Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Birmingham City Council. It has its own website where details of where it is currently exhibited can be found. It also has a Facebook page for news items.
Since 2011 we have been managing the research project that will lead to its publication. The title of this is Contextualising Metal-detected Discoveries: the Staffordshire Anglo-Saxon Hoard.
In the first year we conducted an assessment. Stage 1 of the analysis ran from March 2012 to May 2014. This was slightly longer than had been originally planned as additional pieces of the Hoard were found in late November / early December 2012. These came to light after the first ploughing of the field since the discovery in 2009. Warwickshire Archaeology had conducted a systematic field walking and metal detecting survey on the site after the ploughing. This was funded by Staffordshire County Council and English Heritage. The pieces were declared to be Treasure and were acquired by Birmingham and Stoke-on-Trent courtesy of a generous donation by the jewellers Wartski. Following the acquisition, these pieces too became part of our project.
At the end of Stage 1 the design for the whole project was revised in the light of all the information gained during it. You can read about the results here. Stage 2 is ran for 30 months and was completed in June 2017. We received the referees comments in October and the final editorial part of the project was commissioned in February 2018. You can find the project design for this stage here. The finished manuscript for the book will be transferred to the publishers in June 2018. The publication will be in the form of a book published by the Society of Antiquaries of London and an extensive digital resource freely available via the internet. The first part of the latter was published on the Archaeological Data Service in February 2017. It consists of 24 specialist reports and surveys in the Staffordshire Hoard Research Report series. It is available here and a full list is available here by following the Research Report link to the right. Currently we are working with the ADS on a bespoke 'front-end' for the digital part which will allow anyone to call up images, catalogue entries and reports on any of the pieces.
In Stage 2 we produced a fully illustrated catalogue that describes the shape, decoration and composition of the pieces, and showed how the individual fragments relate to each other. Detailed analysis of how the items were made provided many new insights into the craft practices of the seventh century metalsmiths. The detailed analysis of the large body of animal art provided information about the regions from which the pieces came, and help dated the deposition.
The biographies of the individual items and of the hoard as a whole were explored using the observed wear and repair and the information about how the items were dismantled. This helped us understand how this currently unique find came to be assembled prior to deposition.
To place the Hoard in the wider context within which it needs to be understood, a set of studies relating to hoarding in general, seventh century life and mind-set, contemporary attitudes to gold, and the contemporary historical background were commissioned. These studies also reflected on the new light the Hoard has shed on these themes.
Finally a review of the effect the discovery has had on both the local region and nationally was conducted. From this we hope lessons can be learnt that may help in the future should other finds of this magnitude be found.
The links on the right will take you to pages that provide more information. During Stage 1 we regularly published Newsletters describing what we were learning and published a further four during Stage 2. The Newsletters are placed on this site for download. The link is to right.
In February 2017 the first official publications of the research project were published on the Archaeological Data Service. This consisted of 24 specialist reports and surveys
Unless otherwise stated, all the photographs which illustrate the pages about the Hoard are by Guy Evans.
24 specialist reports and surveys were released on the ADS on February 2017. Click on the bird above (catalogue no. 513) for details).
There are seven of these from Stage 1 and four from Stage 2. Click the fish (K 796) to see them
Click the warriors (K1382) to meet the team who are carrying out the work
The results of Stage 1
Click the sword pyramid (K1166) to read a summary
The project designs
Click on the sword pommel (K292) to see our plans and methodologies in detail.
All website contents copyright Barbican Research Associates 2018