Author: By Rosamond Hutt, Press Association
Sword hilt fittings
At least 84 pommel caps and 71 sword hilt collars have been identified so far.
They would have adorned a sword or seax (short sword or knife). Their
elaborate and expensive decoration – many are made of gold and inlaid with
garnets – suggests the weapons were once the property of the highest
echelons of nobility.
Experts are piecing together what they believe are parts from several
splendidly decorated helmets, including what appears to be a cheek-piece
with a frieze of running animals. It has a relatively low gold content and
has been specially alloyed, probably to make it more functional and able to
withstand blows. There are also fragments of silver edging and reeded strips
that may have been helmet fittings and an animal figurine that was possibly
the crest of a helmet.
Video: Anglo-Saxon hoard uncovered
A strip of gold bearing a biblical inscription in Latin is one of the most
significant and controversial finds. One expert believes that the style of
lettering indicates it is from the seventh or early eighth centuries, while
another dates it to the eighth or ninth centuries.
The warlike inscription, mis-spelt in places, is thought to be from the Book
of Numbers, Chapter 10 verse 35. The translation reads: “Rise up, o
Lord, and may thy enemies be dispersed and those who hate thee be driven
from thy face.”
The largest of two or three crosses in the hoard may have been an altar or
processional cross. It has been folded, possibly to make it fit into a small
space prior to burial.
The apparent lack of respect shown to this Christian symbol may point to the
hoard being buried by pagans.
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