Photo by David Rowan, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Oh. My. God. There’s a new find in Staffordshire, a hoard of luscious, gorgeous goldy old gold that is simply mind-blowingly fabulous. Go look at the Flickr set. It will make you croon. This is the biggest, best Anglo-Saxon find since Sutton Hoo. (Thanks, Lisa.)
For the next six days, you can listen to the BBC’s audio segment. Fast forward to 5 minutes in.
Apart from sheer gleaming fabulousness, there is also apparently part of an unknown riddle (inscribed on something, I assume). I wonder which blogger will hold the guess-the-riddle competition…
9 thoughts on “My dragonish heart is utterly roused”
This is gob-smacking, just astounding.
Pretty, shiny, sparkly things!
Gorgeous stuff. Interesting reading the comments — it's interlocking arms; no, ravens; no, dogs. Also, first time I've heard of a “metal detectorist.”
Wow. Lots of fuel for your imagination there.
How many people will go buy metal detectors after this? How cool to find something like that.
You can see the inscription on what looks like a belt in the bottom left of the photo. Resolution's not good enough to do more than pick out a letter or two, though — and it's a bloody long time since I studied Anglo-Saxon calligraphy! Beautiful stuff, though — thanks for posting this!
From that website:
Extracts from Beowulf
The Beowulf cover
The Geat captain saw treasure in abundance [Line – 1612]
but carried no spoils from those quarters
except for the head [of Grendal] and the inlaid sword-hilt
embossed with jewels; its blade had melted
and scroll work on it burnt, so scalding was the blood
of the poisonous fiend who perished there. 
Then the golden hilt was handed over 
to the old lord, a relic from long ago
for the venerable ruler. 
There were many other heirlooms heaped inside the earth-house 
because long ago, with deliberate care,
some forgotten person had deposited the whole
rich inheritance of a high-born race
in this ancient cache. Death had come
and taken them all in times gone by
and the one surviving witness of their fate,
the last veteran, could envisage only
the same fate for himself: he foresaw that his joy
in the treasure would be brief. 
The hard helmet, hasped in with gold 
will be stripped of its hoops……… 
…..a treasure trove of astounding richness, 
wall-hangings that were a wonder to behold,
glittering gold spread across the ground,
the dawn-scorching serpent's den
packed with goblets and vessels from the past,
tarnished and corroding. Rusty helmets
all eaten away. Artfully wrought
armbands everywhere. How easily can treasure
buried in the ground, gold hidden
however skilfully, escape any man!
And he saw too a standard, entirely of gold,
hanging high above the hoard,
A masterpiece of filigree; 
One warrior stripped the other, 
looted Ongentheow's iron mail-coat,
his hard sword-hilt, his helmet too,
and carried graith to King Hygelac;
he accepted the prize, promised fairly
that reward would come, and kept his word. 
(Note, not his sword, but his sword-hilt) – Kevin Leahy
They let the ground keep that ancestral treasure, 
gold under gravel, gone to earth,
as useless to men now as it ever was. 
'Beowulf' trans. by Seamus Heaney, 1999, Faber and Faber ISBN 0-751-20113-X.
Wendy, I think the visible inscription is something from Psalms, a typical “we will smite the enemy” kind of thing. But I heard there might be something else…
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