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Staffordshire Hoard is set to dazzle United States capital

Staffordshire Hoard is set to dazzle United States capital

27th July 2011

Hoard exhibition will be at the National Geographic Museum in Washington from October 29 2011 to March 4 2012.

Glittering gold from ancient England is set to dazzle audiences in the United States. More than one hundred artefacts from the Staffordshire Hoard – the largest and most valuable collection of Anglo-Saxon treasure ever discovered – will be displayed in Washington D.C. later this year.

The exhibition, called ‘Anglo-Saxon Hoard: Gold from England’s Dark Ages’ will be open at the National Geographic Museum from October 29, 2011 to March 4, 2012.

The exhibition in Washington will also help the treasure owners – Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Birmingham City Council – to facilitate vital research to help understand the unique artefacts and ensure that they are conserved for future generations.

Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture Cllr Martin Mullaney, said: “The Washington exhibition represents another exciting chapter in a story that continues to fascinate the world.

“It will build on hugely successful exhibitions in Birmingham and Stoke-on-Trent and a touring display of the treasure in Stafford, Lichfield and Tamworth – landmarks in the ancient kingdom of Mercia.

“We want to give as many people as possible the chance to see these wonderful treasures, and are thrilled that the Washington exhibition will mean even more people can see it.

“There is simply so much about the treasure that we don’t yet know – how it came to be buried in a Staffordshire field, who put it there, and why.

“And questions such as how primitive people were able to make such outstandingly beautiful items without the aid of modern day highly specialised tools. Research into these wonderful treasures will help experts delve into these mysteries and reveal the secrets of the Dark Ages.”

The Staffordshire Hoard comprises more than 3,300 mainly gold and silver artefacts from the seventh and eighth centuries. The haul is made up of intricately designed articles of war, including helmet cheek pieces, sword pommels and religious crosses. Experts believe that some of the items were deliberately folded before being buried and that the treasure could be the booty from a battlefield from the ancient kingdom of Mercia.

Susan Norton, director of the National Geographic Museum, said: “We are thrilled to be the only U.S. venue for this exhibition. National Geographic has been a window on the world since 1888, and bringing ‘Anglo-Saxon Hoard’ to our museum in Washington D.C. offers us the opportunity to showcase this incredible find and emphasise the importance of continued exploration. There are wonders to be found both in remote territories and our own backyards.”

The hoard was found by a metal detector enthusiast in a farmer’s field in Staffordshire in 2009, and was saved for the nation by Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Birmingham City Council who bought the treasure for £3.3million, after a massive public fundraising campaign which even gained support from the then British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

In addition to the museum exhibition, National Geographic will feature the hoard and its discovery in a new book, ‘Lost Gold: War, Treasure, and the Mystery of the Saxons’, in a November television special for the National Geographic Channel and in the November issue of National Geographic Magazine.

Permanent displays on the Staffordshire Hoard will remain in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent.

For more information about the Staffordshire Hoard visit the Staffordshire Hoard website.

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