The treasure was buried over 1,000 years ago, most likely by a Viking member of an army retreating into the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia after suffering a defeat in the Battle of Edington by Alfred the Great in 878.
According to experts, there are several invaluable items in the hoard, including a crystal ball pendant dated to the 5th or 6th century and an octagonal gold ring and arm bracelet shaped like a serpent consuming its own tail, which are believed to be from the 9th century.
Scholars claim that the arm bracelet is unlike any other artifact unearthed by modern researchers.
Hundreds of coins
Furthermore, the hoard contains hundreds of coins that are also very significant, as two of them have the potential to influence perceptions of history in relation to the Anglo-Saxon rulers, King Alfred of Wessex and Ceolwulf II of Mercia.
Experts believe that the Anglo-Saxon, Islamic, and Frankish coins could offer a new perspective on how Mercia and Wessex were ruled in the 9th century.
The coins allegedly prove an alliance between Alfred of Wessex and Ceolwulf II of Mercia that historians have long been skeptical about, potentially accentuating the role of Herefordshire and the Marches within the Kingdom of Mercia.
Archaeologists believe that the find is indeed a hoard – which means that it is a collection of valuable items hidden or buried for retrieval at a later point in time.
Most of the hoard missing
Experts think the hoard was buried around 878 when a Viking army defeated by Alfred the Great retreated from Wessex. The battle, dubbed the Battle of Edington, is considered a pivotal event to the future establishment of England as a unified country by King Athelstan, Alfred the Great’s grandson, in 927.
The treasure was found at Eye, close to Leominster. Some researchers think it is possible that Vikings found shelter at the monastery in the town for the duration of the winter.
Unfortunately, most of the Herefordshire Hoard is missing, and four people – two metal detectorists and two coin sellers – are convicted of charges related to the theft and concealment of the find.
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