The images you'll see as you scroll down to the current text are all part of the story telling in my novel, Realms of Gold:Ritual to Romance.

Bianca Caldwell, pen name, Bianca Fiore, is a writer for an art magazine. In each of her monthly stories she describes an object used in ancient ritual.

The Staffordshire Hoard: Handy Weapon

Jeweled Pummel Cap Rings

A jeweled pommel cap and rings brightened a hilt of bone or ivory (artist's rendition below) on a short, light sword known as a seax (SAY-aks). Generally wielded with one hand, the single-edged seax was more versatile than a full sword, serving as a hunting knife as well as a dagger. A blade of finely patterned iron and steel would have been a valued part of such a weapon, but none was included in the treasure.

Art by Daniel Dociu; Artifact re-creations source: Kevin Leahy, Portable Antiquities Scheme

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The Staffordshire Hoard: Zoomorphic mount


The zoomorphic mount is designed in the form of two style II eagles, facing each other and holding a fish vertically between them.

The Staffordshire Hoard plaque was quite badly damaged when it was removed. One bird was dramatically twisted away, but you can still see traces of its talons on the body of the fish.

The exact use for the zoomorphic mount is not yet known, however it is likely that it was used as decoration on a shield.

This gold plaque shows two eagles holding a fish between them. There was a plaque with one very similar eagle on the front of the shield found in the Sutton Hoo ship burial, which is thought to be where King Raedwald of East Anglia was buried.

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The Staffordshire Hoard: Stylised seahorse

A figure pocked with nail holes may represent a horse— Just 1.6 inches high, it was made by a master goldsmith who knew how to heat the metal almost to melting point to attach the tiny swirls.

Many of the pieces in the Staffordshire Hoard are decorated using filigree, a technique which creates patterns by soldering lengths of twisted wire to a base plate. This sea-horse mount is one of the most remarkable pieces in the hoard decorated using this technique. The filigree work on it is astonishingly fine –a grain of rice is longer than three of the spirals which make up the decoration.

The top terminal is shaped into a horse’s head, with facial features distinguishable by soldered bead style filigree outlining an eye and snout.

The body then curves to form a sharp outward point, and then again to an end terminal, which looks to have broken off.

Connected to the left of this is an extended piece of fashioned gold that may have been or part of an attachment.

The body vertically divides into four columns that match its length, and within each is a continuous pattern of raised thin double coils in a filigree design.

The reverse side has no decoration and is plain except for the impression of the eye and snout.


There is some discussion as to whether this mount really represents a seahorse or not. Some experts argue that the Anglo-Saxons tended not to portray animals particularly realistically and that it is better to regard this mount a showing a stylised horse’s head. Others feel that the shape is so reminiscent of the species of seahorse that lives off the coast of Britain that the maker must really have intended to picture a seahorse

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The Staffordshire Hoard: Pectoral cross

A pectoral cross or pectorale (from the Latin pectoralis: 'of the chest') is a cross, usually relatively large, suspended from the neck by a cord or chain that reaches well down the chest.

It would have been worn by senior clergy (bishops and abbots) as a sign of their office, or by wealthy Christian lay people.

Pendant cross with expanded arms and central flat top cabochon stone, the stone is red and presumed garnet.

The top arm is detached, torn rather than a deliberate cut. The decoration goes from the front over the loop and finishes on the back.

This damaged area shows that the arms may have been added to the central area and soldered in position.

The main cross has three other arms with a circular filigree pattern with twisted wire work edging. The left arm has been bent upwards and inwards.

The central garnet is set in the gold, which has decorative twisted wire

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The Staffordshire Hoard

Some pieces of the treasure were twisted or broken as if they had been forced into a small space.

 All artifacts owned by: Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery; Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent; Photographs by Robert Clark

Reposted from National Geographic 

The Staffordshire Hoard: Holy Relic

Inlaid with garnets, and perhaps glass, a gold cross seems to have been crumpled before being buried with the rest of the treasure.

Art by Daniel Dociu; Artifact re-creations source: Kevin Leahy, Portable Antiquities Scheme
This illustration depicts the cross as new, ready to adorn an altar or be carried into battle.

Reposted from National Geographic


Saxon Hoard - Saxon Hoard A Golden Discovery

Marion Blockley, an archaeologist, wonders if there is a clue in a lament written in around the 9th Century that describes a 7th Century battle and raid in the Midlands.

Did warriors ransack a settlement and leave with captured treasure?
"It's possible as they fled that they may have taken the hoard with them and buried it, hoping to come back but sadly they were killed," Ms Blockley said.
"I'm not saying it's true, but you know, it may well be."
'Significant items'

The Staffordshire Hoard is made up of thousands of items, including pieces of weaponry and dozens of ornate sword pommels, so could they have been part of a king's collection that had somehow fallen into the wrong hands?

Ms Blockley said nearby Tamworth had been a royal treasury.
She said kings used to receive gifts of "significant items of weaponry" which they would then redistribute to their favourite warriors.

Some say a key part of solving the mystery of the hoard could lie in where it was found near what was an important route between the Midlands and London, Watling Street.

Anglo-Saxon Hoard: Gold from England’s Dark Ages

On July 5th 2009, Terry Herbert, a metal detector enthusiast, discovered this large collection of Anglo-Saxon gold on farmland near Lichfield in Staffordshire, England.

Gold hilt fitting with intricate garnet decoration
Sword fitting with garnet

The Staffordshire Hoard, Gold Pommel Caps

The Staffordshire Hoard consists of more than 3,500 pieces dating back to about 650 A.D. This fantastically shiny hoard is valued at close to $5 million and represents the biggest collection of Anglo-Saxon treasure ever discovered. Among the more than 100 items on display at the museum you’ll find mostly military items with a few standouts like gold and garnet sword fittings and a gold strip bearing a Latin inscription from the Bible.

Pommel Cap


The Staffordshire Hoard

The Staffordshire Hoard is the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver metalwork yet found. Discovered in a field near the village of Hammerwich, near Lichfield, in Staffordshire, England, on 5 July 2009, it consists of over 3,500 items that are nearly all martial in character and contains no objects specific to female uses. The artefacts have tentatively been dated to the 7th or 8th centuries, placing the origin of the items in the time of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia.

A selection of highlight pieces from the Staffordshire Hoard (top) and a gold sword hilt fitting with cloisonné garnet inlay (below), uncleaned by conservators, still showing traces of soil

The hoard has been described by Leslie Webster, former keeper of the department of prehistory at the British Museum, as "absolutely the metalwork equivalent of finding a new Lindisfarne Gospels or Book of Kells." She stated further that "this is going to alter our perceptions of Anglo-Saxon England as radically, if not more so, as the Sutton Hoo discoveries." Dr Roger Bland, Head of the Portable Antiquities Scheme, said, "It is a fantastically important discovery. It is assumed that the items were buried by their owners at a time of danger with the intention of later coming back and recovering them."[

Experts have produced a range of theories as to where the hoard came from and how it came to be deposited, and whether the objects were made for Christians or pagans. The average quality of the workmanship is extremely high and especially remarkable in view of the large number of individual objects, such as swords or helmets, from which the elements in the hoard came.

The hoard was valued at £3.285 million and has now been purchased by the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery.

Etruscan Gold Clasp

Etruscan civilization, 5th century b.C. Goldsmith art. Gold clasp. From Spina, Ferrara Province. Artwork-location: Ferrara, Museo Archeologico Nazionale (Archaeological Museum)

Etruscan Gold Diadem - Detail

 Etruscan civilization, Gold diadem (crown). From Spina, Ferrara Province, Museo Archeologico Nazionale (Archaeological Museum)