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What's On

A comprehensive guide to what's happening at Birmingham's museums.

Staffordshire Hoard

Staffordshire Hoard

Location: Birmingham Museum

11th March 2014 - 31st May 2014

The Hoard is made up of over 1,500 pieces of beautifully crafted gold and silver from the 7th century Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia.

This exhibition tells the story of the Hoard find and the history of Anglo-Saxon Britain.

Objects from the second Hoard find are now on display for the first time at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

As well as seeing Staffordshire Hoard objects on display you can also use the interactives to take a closer look at some of the star items that are not currently in the gallery.

There is also the opportunity to handle two replica Saxon swords. 

Conservation of the Hoard is taking place at Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery. Due to conservation work, research work and occasional photography and filming days we cannot guarantee which objects will be on display in the gallery. If you would like to check before your visit please phone: 0121 303 1966 or email: bmag.enquiries@birminghammuseums.org.uk

The Staffordshire Hoard exhibition is in Gallery 16. Free entry.

The Hoard

Most of the complete objects are made of gold - the hoard contains about 5 kilograms (11lbs) of gold - but there are also items of silver and copper alloy. The hoard is unusal because it largely seems to be made up of fittings that have been stripped from the hilts of swords and daggers (mostly pommel caps and hilt plates). It may be that they were taken from the battlefield as spoils of war.

In addition to the fittings, the hoard also contains parts of a helmet, plus at least two Christian crosses. Many of the gold items are decorated with pieces of garnet, a deep red precious stone. Others are covered in fine filigree work, or carry patterns made up of animals with interlaced bodies. 

New Finds

The Staffordshire Hoard was found in a field near Lichfield in July 2009. In September 2012 the farmer ploughed the field again for the first time since the original discovery. Staffordshire County Council and English Heritage arranged for archaeologists from Archaeology Warwickshire to investigate the site and they recovered just over eighty pieces of Anglo-Saxon metalwork dating to the same period as the hoard. In January 2013 the coroner ruled that these were part of hoard too. The Treasure Valuation Committee subsequently valued these new pieces at £57,395. Wartski’s the jewellers generously gave the whole amount needed and in May 2013 Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery were able to acquire them so the whole hoard could be kept together.

The new find contains exactly the same sort of things that were found in the original discovery. They include four pieces of gold decorated with cloisonné garnets – two strips, a small cross-shaped mount and another mount in the shape of an eagle. Another twelve pieces of gold are decorated with filigree. There are also twelve gold pieces stripped from the handles of swords and more than twenty fragments of stamped silver foil and silver strips that probably come from a helmet. However the most important piece in the new find is a second silver-gilt cheek piece like the one found in 2009. It was always clear that there must originally have been a second one, but we were not sure whether it had been included in the hoard. Now we know that it was.

Staffordshire Hoard website and Conservation blogs and videos

To keep up to date with all news about the Hoard visit the Staffordshire Hoard website: http://www.staffordshirehoard.org.uk

The Hoard conservation team have been writing blogs about their work, and making short videos that show both the conversation process and their involvement in research and the Mercian Trail and Washington D.C. exhibitions. You can view these on BMAG's Youtube channel.

Hoard Appeal

The Staffordshire Hoard was acquired with donations from members of the public following a campaign led by the Art Fund. 

Acquiring the Hoard is just the beginning and we still need your help. A further £1.7 million is required to fund the conservation and research needed to unlock the information the Hoard holds about the history of Mercia and of Anglo-Saxon England, and create new permanent galleries devoted to the Hoard in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the Potteries Museum in Stoke-on-Trent.

In May 2013, less than a week after the fundraising campaign was launched, the newly-found artefacts from the Staffordshire Hoard have been saved for the nation thanks to the generosity of the jewellers Wartski who made the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding ring. 

Court Jewellers Wartski donated the full amount needed -  £57,395 – in order to purchase the 81 additional pieces of Anglo-Saxon treasure that were found last November in the same Staffordshire field as the initial 3,500-piece collection.  Wartski is a family jewellery business in London.

Donate

There are a number of ways you can donate to the appeal:

- Donate online

- Send a cheque, made payable to “City of Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery Development Trust”, to the Hoard Appeal, Fundraising & Development Office, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham B3 3DH. You can help us gain more from your donation by adding Gift Aid on this form.

- Make cash donations in the collection boxes at Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery and at the Potteries Museum, Stoke-on-Trent. 

Questions and answers about the Staffordshire Hoard fundraising campaign can be downloaded as a word document or as a pdf

 

Download the free Birmingham Museums Quiz for iphone - family fun in the museum or at home!