Buried treasure

A new exhibition of the largest and most valuable find ever of Anglo-Saxon treasure starts next week. Staffordshire Hoard: Dark Age Discovery will display the incredible haul discovered in what was once the heartland of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia

The "sea-horse" mount – one of the most remarkable pieces in the hoard

Metal detectorist Terry Herbert found the priceless treasure in July 2009; it has subsequently been valued by the Treasure Valuation Committee at the British Museum at £3.285 million. The new exhibition at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent will tell the fascinating story of the hoard from the day it was unearthed.

Sculptor Christopher Dean has been commissioned to produce minutely accurate and life-sized replicas of some of the Staffordshire Hoard’s most intriguing items.  Computer scanning and enlarging pieces including the Seahorse (right) and the Filigree Fish has revealed delicate filigree decoration almost invisible to the naked eye.

New museum sculpture the Staffordshire Saxon

The replicas mean that visitors will actually be able to touch and feel the intricacies of these ancient designs. There will even be a full-sized model Anglo-Saxon on display, showing how warriors were dressed and equipped at the time. To help visitors immerse themselves in the exhibition, new interpretation panels will set the hoard in its historical context.

Also making his world debut, the Staffordshire Saxon will be keeping a watchful eye over the new exhibition. The nine-foot tall cast bronze resin artwork has been installed in the foyer of the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery to coincide with the exhibition, and will help to place the incredible Staffordshire Hoard in context. The warrior himself has 17 hoard-inspired pieces, including the pommel of the seax (knife or cutting tool, pronounced “sax”) and buckles.

Staffordshire Hoard: Dark Age Discovery goes on show at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, in Stoke-on-Trent, from 21 July to 1 September 2013. The display will be on show every day from 10.00 to 17.00 Monday to Saturday, and 14.00 to 17.00 on Sundays (telephone for Christmas and New Year openings).  For further information visit www.visitstoke.co.uk/Staffordshirehoard.aspx or www.stokemuseums.org.uk/pmag

Written by Jessica Tooze // 18th July 2012

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