Staffordshire Hoard research project: specialist reports launched online

February 24, 2017

Twenty-four specialist reports from the Staffordshire Hoard research project are launched today on the Archaeology Data Service website.

Since the Staffordshire Hoard research project commenced in 2012, the entire collection of 4000+ fragments has been cleaned and studied by conservators, archaeologists and scientists. The conservation and study of the objects themselves was completed last year, and now the exciting process of publishing the results has begun. This will culminate in an online catalogue and a major publication exploring the hoard in more depth, the objects’ meanings and how they relate to each other.

The reports released today are the preliminary results from Stage 1 of the research project. They focus on the scientific analysis of the materials contained within the hoard, in particular, investigation of the composition of the gold and silver conducted at the British Museum and Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, as well as results of the analysis of the garnets, glass and other inlays used to decorate the objects. Although predominantly gold and silver, the hoard does contain traces of organic materials used in the manufacture of the objects and these reports provide fascinating evidence for a wide range of substances, including different species of wood, and a variety of glues, pastes and resins. Two of the papers also provide a survey of archaeological activity in the area around the findspot.

Although some of the conclusions have been publicised before, this is the first opportunity for members of the public to read about the analysis in detail and see the scientific data for themselves.

The overarching aim of the research project has been to make details of this unusual find available to both the scholarly community and the general public as promptly as possible within the bounds of good scholarship. The first aim of the project was to establish what the Hoard consisted of. This was not a simple question to answer as the material had been deliberately dismantled and consisted of c. 4,000 fragments. We now know they came from c. 700 objects. Other research aims were to answer the questions of when it was deposited, why it was deposited, what it tells us about seventh-century life and what we can learn from the experience of dealing with such a large and unexpected find.

The Staffordshire Hoard research project is funded by Historic England, Birmingham Museums Trust and the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, with the assistance of other generous patrons. The research is being carried out by Barbican Research Associates. The Staffordshire Hoard collection is owned by Birmingham City Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council on behalf of the nation, and is cared for by Birmingham Museums Trust and The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent.

The research reports can be found here:

The aim of the Archaeology Data Service (ADS) is to collect, describe, catalogue, preserve, and provide user support for digital resources that are created as a product of archaeological research. Access to the resource is free.

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