Fresh Anglo-Saxon find is part of Staffordshire Hoard
MORE than 80 Anglo-Saxon artefacts found buried in a field are part of the Staffordshire Hoard.
The 81 metal items were uncovered in November in the same field, near Lichfield, where the initial 3,500 objects was discovered in 2009.
At yesterday's inquest into the new find, South Staffordshire Coroner Andrew Haigh ruled the items, dating back to the 7th century, were treasure and part of the hoard.
National Finds Adviser Dr Kevin Leahy told the inquest that newly discovered items, which included intricately worked gold and silver, were very similar in design to the main hoard.
To be considered treasure, an object has to be at least 300 years old, with a precious metal content of at least 10 per cent.
Mr Haigh said he was satisfied the new finds met these conditions.
He said: "The Staffordshire Hoard was a magnificent find.
"I very much hope that these further items will be saved for the nation and added to the Hoard."
The objects included a cheek piece from a helmet, possibly the counterpart to a very similar item in the main hoard.
An eagle, a cross, sword hilt fittings and pieces of gold foil were also discovered.
Ten other objects found at the same time were discounted, although two of these also date back to the 7th century.
Dr Leahy, who also catalogued the main hoard, said the new find was an 'exciting' discovery.
He said: "The new items are all stylistically similar to the main hoard, and made out of the same materials. The most interesting aspect of this for me is that items not associated with the hoard were also found.
"That shows that there was a sequence of events at this location, and that it wasn't just a one-off burial. I believe the site was used for ritual deposits."
Archaeologists working for Staffordshire County Council and English Heritage made the fresh discoveries after the field at Hammerwich was ploughed in the autumn.
County council archaeologist Stephen Dean said the ploughing probably brought the items closer to the surface.
Mr Dean said: "There have been diminishing returns at this site, as 3,500 items were found in 2009, but only 81 were found this time. But if the field is ploughed again we will have another look."
Items from the original Hoard are on display at the Potteries Museum and Birmingham Museum.
The new pieces will now be valued at the British Museum. Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the county council have stated their intention to purchase the new items.
County council leader Philip Atkins said: "It is another opportunity for the Hoard to put Staffordshire on the map. York has the Vikings, Bath has the Romans, and now Staffordshire has the Saxons."