LONDON — An unemployed metal detectorist has unearthed the biggest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver ever found in a country field, archaeologists said on Thursday.
The trove of at least 1,350 items, including five kilos (11 pounds) of gold and a smaller amount of silver, was found in July by 55-year-old Terry Herbert with a metal detector near his home in Burntwood, some 15 miles north of Birmingham.
The haul, which is potentially worth a fortune, was officially declared ‘treasure’ on Thursday by a coroner, who has the legal right to decide the status of such finds.
It is believed to date from the seventh century AD, and may have belonged to Saxon royalty. The treasure includes sword hilt fittings inlaid with precious stones, helmets, crosses and a strip of gold bearing a Biblical inscription in Latin.