Why did they bury the hoard?
We will probably never be sure why the hoard was buried. There are many possible theories. It may have been a ritual offering to the gods, or tribute or battle loot that went astray, or treasure hidden from attackers. We do not know if the people who buried it intended to return and recover it or not.
There are some clues though. The objects were systematically dismantled, suggesting a craftsperson was involved. Combined with the fact they come from a wide range of times and places, this suggests the burial may not have been the result of one episode of looting in an immediate battle aftermath.
The objects were heavily damaged when they were dismantled, so it does not appear they were intended to be reused. What went into the ground was mostly, but not entirely, gold and silver. Some effort had been made to remove other materials like iron and wood, but it is not a collection of precious scrap metal ready to be melted down.
Most importantly, the hoard objects were carefully selected. There are no female objects, and lots of the objects that made up male warrior culture, like drinking vessels and dress fittings, or objects that might be included in a royal treasury, like coins or purses, are also missing.
There is a great emphasis on swords, and on prestigious ceremonial objects. These powerful and meaningful objects originated in different times and places across the Anglo-Saxon world and beyond, and how they were gathered together is as important to understanding the hoard as why they were eventually buried.