Saturday, June 29, 2013

More on the Staffordshire Hoarde

The Staffordshire Hoard

Has been called Britains King Tut because of its importance.
Actually, I believe that name should be reserved for the Sutton Hoo treasure, but hey, thats just me. 

More gold and silver, including a gold and garnet cross, an eagle-shaped mount, and what could be a helmet cheek piece, have been churned up by ploughing in Staffordshire in the same field which three years ago yielded one of the most spectacular Anglo Saxon hauls.
When archaeologists first scoured farmer Fred Johnson's field in Hammerwich and discovered the hoard, which comprised more than 3,500 fragments of metalwork including sword, shield and helmet mounts inlaid with pieces of garnet and enamel, they left convinced they had emptied it of every scrap of treasure. Now a 90 further pieces have been found.
The workmanship in the new finds appears identical to pieces from the original haul; the helmet cheek piece appears to match one found three years ago.
Experts from English Heritage and Staffordshire county council, who were confident they had uncovered the field's secrets when the hoard was found by amateur metal detectorist Terry Herbert, believe the latest finds must be connected, but a formal decision on that will be taken by the local coroner, Andrew Haigh, in a treasure inquest next month.

When Brenda and I visited the British Museum a few years ago, there was quite a line up to see the Staffordshire Hoard.  They were displayed in glass topped display cases, and the dirt from the excavation were still clogging the cloissonee.  Now, they have found another ninety pieces.  Oh my!

More of the article is here in the Guardian.  So why is this important on an "armouring" blog?  Well, it seems that most of the pieces are actually helmet decorations and sword counterweights.  Anybody who wishes to take advantage of the new fashions in Norse and Anglo Saxon decoration would do well to study this hoard, among others.  It is being exhibited at the Potteries Museum at Stoke-on-Trent until September.

Study of Viking swords is a HUGE undertaking.  For one thing, unlike most swords, the blade is usually very noteworthy.  For another thing, the pommels and grips were unique to various regions, and one can track migrations, battles and raids through finds of swords.
         This site is one which I have found which will take you by the hand through the thickest part of the study!  Leave a couple of hours to study this site...  

above are a couple of studies of the original Staffordshire Hoard discovery, and below is a helmet cheek piece from the latest discovery.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

More Ancient Irish Weapons

Above is a priceless find.  Oh, no, not the "rapier" in back, but the soapstone mould into which the rapier and dirks were poured.  Once you have such a mould, all you need then is a supply of bronze and you have weapons.  There is a legend that Peter the Great (three and a half thousand years later!) ordered his boyars to silence, and said "The next sound I hear will be the answer to where I shall get the bronze for my cannons".  Into the deadly silence that followed, a churchbell rang outside the palace...and Peter realized that there was plenty of bronze about, all in the form of bells.
       Which to my mind simply goes to show the value of bronze!

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Irish Halberds and Daggers

I personally feel that the prettiest weapons in the world are Celtic Bronze Age weapons.  Below are four halberds....these blades are riveted onto the stick so they stick out sideways.  We know the length of the stick by the downward "droop" of the halberd.  

The usual love of the trinity comes out here...a re-occuring motif with trisekelions and such...most weapons of war seem to have been attached to their handles by three rivets.  
 All eight of these weapons are about four thousand years old.  

As usual, if anybody wants larger pictures of these for whatever reason, I'll send 'em to you...just email me at marshalbill@gmail dot com 

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