Friday, September 25, 2009

Anglo-Saxon Treasure Trove

Sales of metal detectors are bound to go up, at least in the UK. A treasure hunter with such a device (which means an everyday guy, I suspect) stumbled upon the largest cache of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found by an amateur, in a field in England. It was buried there around 1300 years ago--all this according to National Geographic. They've posted pictures too.

The lucky guy is Terry Herbert, and the field belonged to his friend. Here's a picture of Herbert, along with a MSNBC story. Over 1500 gold and silver items were found there, near Burntwood. It's all very manly jewelry, much with inlaid garnets. I copy this one picture here, but you really should see the NG site. The find is amazing.

The fellow cataloguing the find believes it is war loot, partly because so many pommels are included in the stash. The poem Beowolf, which the Anglo-Saxons wrote, refers to collecting pommels from enemies' sword handles as trophies, he said. (The Celts collected heads. Pommels didn't smell nearly as bad, I'm sure.)

The preliminary translation of this runic writing reads: "One bracelet to rule them all, one bracelet to bind them..."

Wouldn't that be fun? Then we could imagine that JRR Tolkien had access to some secret historical documents predating the Masons and Rosicrucians, and that his mythology of Middle Earth actually hints at long-secret truths... Actually, I've met people who do believe that.

In fact, the inscription is Latin (how droll) and reads "Rise up O Lord, and may thy enemies be dispersed and those who hate thee..." Truly.

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