Staffordshire Hoard gold treasure, found in Staffordshire, England with metal detector

(Photo courtesy of The Staffordshire Hoard website.)

When the school year started a few weeks ago, I began hearing a strange beeping sound in the late afternoon. After a couple of days, I finally realized it was coming from some guy over at the school. He has been sweeping the grounds with his metal detector for loose change and whatnot after the kids leave each day.

I suppose it might be more productive than blogging, but how much valuable treasure could you really find?

Now, from England, comes the astounding story of Terry Herbert. Using his metal detector, he found a hoard of more than 1,500 precious Anglo-Saxon military artifacts. The collection is 1,400 years old. Much of it is gold and silver of consummate craftsmanship, with arrays of tiny garnets cut to shape. Some of the items are unique and incomparable, making them nearly impossible to appraise or price. The trove likely belonged to a king. A former keeper at the British Museum says the discovery is “absolutely the equivalent of finding a new Lindisfarne Gospels or Book of Kells.”

Here’s my favorite part, from the Times story (“Metal detector enthusiast unearths huge hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold’):

Mr Herbert claimed that finding it with his 14-year-old detector was destiny. “I have this phrase that I say sometimes: ‘Spirits of yesteryear take me where the coins appear’, but on that day I changed coins to gold,” he said.

“I don’t know why I said it that day, but I think somebody was listening and directed me to it. Maybe it was meant to be, maybe the gold had my name on it all along, I don’t know.”

I really need to think up a good rhyme for “Powerball.”

Or, perhaps, buy a good metal detector.

If you’re prepared to gasp, take a look at the Staffordshire Hoard Flickr photo set.

Then check out the official website of The Staffordshire Hoard.

There is also another version of the story at the BBC: Huge Anglo-Saxon gold hoard found.

Updates:

National Geographic has produced a show about the Staffordshire hoard. It’s called Lost Gold of the Dark Ages.

Also, a March 23, 2010 story at the BBC (with another fascinating video) reports that a National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) grant has helped meet the £3.3 million purchase price for the Staffordshire Hoard, keeping it from being divided up and sold to collectors:

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