Huge hoard of Anglo-Saxon treasure uncovered in UK
LONDON – It's an unprecedented find that could revolutionize ideas about medieval England's Germanic rulers: An amateur treasure-hunter searching a farmer's field with a metal detector unearthed a huge collection of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver artifacts.
The discovery sent a thrill through Britain's archaeological community, which said Thursday that it 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.
"This is just a fantastic find completely out of the blue," Roger Bland, who managed the cache's excavation, told The Associated Press. "It will make us rethink the Dark Ages."
The treasure trove includes 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.
The Anglo-Saxons were a group of Germanic tribes who invaded England starting in the wake of the collapse of the Roman Empire. Their artisans made striking objects out of gold and enamel, and their language, Old English, is a precursor of modern English.
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.
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A gold strip carries the Latin inscription: "Rise up O Lord, and may thy enemies be dispersed and those who hate thee be driven from thy face." It has two sources, the Book of Numbers or Psalm 67, taken from the Vulgate, the Bible used by the Saxons.
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