If intervention TV was around in England’s Dark Ages, they might have focused on episode of “Hoarders” on the Anglo-Saxons. Unlike denizens of the popular show, however, what the ancient English were hoarding was golden–literally. The “Staffordshire Hoard,” is the largest and most valuable stash of Anglo-Saxon treasure. At a price tag of 3.85 million pounds, it includes precious stones, silver but mostly gold—and lots and lots of it.
Having opened on October 29th, the hoard is on view at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C., where it will be on view until March 4th, 2012. The show is called “Anglo-Saxon Hoard: Gold From England’s Dark Ages” and includes more than 100 artifacts originally found in 2009 by a metal detective named Terry Herbert on private land with the landowner and the government’s consent (Her Majesty’s government lays claim to large finds of value like this). All that gold was largely military in use and comes from the expansionist Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia that flourished during the 7th century under kings Penda, Wulfhere and Aethelred.
After the Nat Geo show, the collection goes back to the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent (http://www.stokemuseums.org.uk/pmag) where the haul will be shown with additional pieces in perpetuity. Travelers who plan to check out the ancient hoard should also spend some time wandering Stoke’s other attractions including the Wedgwood Museum (www.wedgwoodmuseum.org.uk) where the 18 and 19th century Wedgwood ceramic treasures on view are similar to pieces you might have stashed in your family attic. Stoke also has a wealth of other museums, visitor attractions and of course, antique and contemporary ceramics shops for those of you who want add to your own hoard at home. For more information visit: www.visitstoke.co.uk