Friday, September 25, 2009

Anglo Saxon Gold and Artifacts found on farmland in England

An amateur treasure hunter with a metal detector searching in a farmer's field has discovered a huge collection of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver artifacts. The important find offers new insight into the world of the Anglo-Saxons, who ruled England from the fifth century until the 1066 Norman invasion and whose cultural influence is still felt throughout the English speaking world.

The 55 yr old Terry Herbert spent five days searching the field alone before he realized he needed help and notified authorities. Professional archaeologists then took over the find. "I was going to bed and in my sleep I was seeing gold items," Herbert said of the experience.

The cache of gold and silver pieces was discovered in what was once Mercia, one of five main Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, and is thought to date to between 675 and 725. The large number of artifacts include intricately designed helmet crests embossed with a frieze of running animals, enamel studded sword fittings and a checkerboard piece inlaid with garnets and gold. One gold band bore a biblical inscription in Latin calling on God to drive away the bearer's enemies.

Archaeologists say they're likely to be busy for years puzzling out the meaning of some of the collection's more unusual pieces, like five enigmatic gold snakes or a strip of gold bearing a crudely written and misspelled Biblical inscription in Latin.