Anglo-Saxon Hoard to DC
Looks like the if your an Anglo-Saxonphile travel plans will need to be made!!!!

Check it out Anglo Saxon Hoard

Thanks for the heads up Craig. Co-incidentally I'm going to be within walking distance for a week in November so will definitely check it out.
Awesome! Thanks for the heads up, Craig!
Saw some of it in a small exhibition at the British Museum, still had the dirt on it. Well worth seeing.
I'll definately make a trip to DC for this.
I'm here in DC and went to the National Geographic Museum this morning to see the Anglo Saxon Hoard.

Unfortunately they did not allow photographs, but there are a couple of pictures here.

I will try to describe it by memory. The first thing you see on entering the exhibit is a short hallway lined with Viking/Anglosaxon style shields, and large screens showing re-enactors decked out as 7th century warriors. The first display is of a sword hilt - pommel, grip collars etc, in the typical gold with red garnet inlay that is repeated in many of the remaining pieces.

Of the 1000s of pieces of precious metal scraps and identifyible pieces in this horde, only 3% are on display in the museum. However, this is enough to fill in 1-2 hours of enjoyable study. The martial character of the display is immediate and is based on the large military content of the horde - for example 92 sword hilts, as well as helmet pieces (still early in reconstruction), and other items that may have come from saddles, scabbards etc. Unfortunately, whoever stashed this horde was more interested apparently in the precious metals and gems than in preserving their function, so many pieces are hard to recognize. Neverltheless, some pieces (like the many sword pommels) are quite obvious, and the artwork is of a very high degree.

In addition, religiious items (crucifixes, possible bible bindings, other fascinating but hard to categorize objects) are on display. All of this is supplimented by tastefully designed plaques, interactive computer displays, and movies that provide specific information on the find, the items, and general context about the period (7th century Mercia). There are also some nice modern replicas of a sword, helmet, and one sword that can be held (nothing new for many of us, but a nice touch). This is also supplemented by displays on general Anglo-Saxon life.

One intriguing detail was the pyramid shaped pieces thought to come from sword belts:

Amazing that all of this only came to light 2 years ago, and all because a farmer allowed an amateur archeologist to search his property with a metal detector (they are both rich now, of course).

The main theme is warfare but there is something here for everyone. The degree of decoration on the artificacts makes them equivalent to jewelry. As I mentioned, most of the items are decorated by the inlay of flat pieces of red garnet into cells of gold, a technique called Cloisonné, although other techniques are seen. And there is something for those interested in general history and religious history of the British Isles.

I remember seeing the King Tut exhibit when it came around years ago (not the more recent tour) and being less impressed, although that likely says more about my personal taste in history. All in all, a great find, and an excellent display of this find.

At $8 for adult admission,don't miss it if you're in the DC area.


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