September 24, 2009--
Buried for centuries in a field in central England, this finely worked, 1,300-year-old fragment of gold plate was revealed today as part of the largest Anglo-Saxon hoard ever found.
Showing two eagles flanking a fish
, the Dark Ages treasure was one of more than 1,500 scattered gold and silver artifacts unearthed in July by metal detector enthusiast Terry Herbert on his friend's farm near the town of Burntwood.
"The quantity of gold is amazing but, more importantly, the craftsmanship is consummate," Kevin Leahy of the London-based Portable Antiquities Scheme
said in a statement. The group records archaeological objects discovered by amateur treasure hunters in the U.K.
"This was the very best that the Anglo-Saxon metalworkers could do," Leahy said. "And they were very good."
Photograph by David Rowan, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery