Old English treasure horde

Do you remember in Beowulf about the dragon’s gold-horde, and how after Beowulf died killing the dragon his people rejected the treasure, burying it under a burrow? Well, a bloke with a metal detector may have found it.

The treasure has over 1500 pieces–gold, silver, weapons, ornaments, all rudely-wrought– dating from the 600′s or 700′s, which would be when Beowulf was written–soon after the Angles and the Saxons converted to Christianity. Historians and archeologists are blown away with the find, which vastly multiplies the artifacts that have survived from that era.

Beware, I say. According to all the old tales, such a treasure–one that has been buried and thus gotten rid of rather than kept–comes with a curse. And recall that just carrying away a cup was enough to wake up a dragon.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • ELB

    Rudely-wrought? Looks pretty fine to me.

  • ELB

    Rudely-wrought? Looks pretty fine to me.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    The dragon’s keeping low, because he knows the back-taxes on his wealth would ruin him anyway.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    The dragon’s keeping low, because he knows the back-taxes on his wealth would ruin him anyway.

  • Kirk

    @ELB,

    I agree. It’s exquisite, especially when considering the means that the 17th Saxon’s had for crafting such items.

  • Kirk

    @ELB,

    I agree. It’s exquisite, especially when considering the means that the 17th Saxon’s had for crafting such items.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    “rudely-wrought” can still mean exquisitely made, indeed be even more remarkable since it was made without sophisticated tools.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    “rudely-wrought” can still mean exquisitely made, indeed be even more remarkable since it was made without sophisticated tools.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    That is simply amazing. I hope that if it goes on display it makes a tour of Museums so that I perhaps can see it without buying a ticket to cross the pond. Though to see that my be worth the ticket across the pond. It is absolutely breathtaking, the work, and craft. I would be happy just to find an Indian arrow head. Can you imaging finding that!

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    That is simply amazing. I hope that if it goes on display it makes a tour of Museums so that I perhaps can see it without buying a ticket to cross the pond. Though to see that my be worth the ticket across the pond. It is absolutely breathtaking, the work, and craft. I would be happy just to find an Indian arrow head. Can you imaging finding that!

  • Pinon Coffee

    HURRAY! That is a fabulous find. I love buried Anglo-Saxon treasure. You just made my day. :-)

    Now: to go research a little mid-seventh-century Mercia…

  • Pinon Coffee

    HURRAY! That is a fabulous find. I love buried Anglo-Saxon treasure. You just made my day. :-)

    Now: to go research a little mid-seventh-century Mercia…

  • James Hageman

    Looks a little like a bottle opener. A finely crafted one.

  • James Hageman

    Looks a little like a bottle opener. A finely crafted one.

  • Susan

    Dr Veith I must respectfully take issue with your assumption that ancient men had no sophisticated tools. Why not, simply because none of the detailed processes used to manufacture them survive? Haven’t men ‘always’ seemed to know how to do and make things? Are we not made in God’s image-therefore our knowledge has not really ‘evolved’ so much as ‘recovered’, certainly after the Flood and surely after the cultural shock and inevitable loss that resulted after Babel? The Roman physician Galen, for example, was found to have used tools virtually identical to those used today by doctors; when laid side-by-side with modern medical tools there were very few differences between them. Scalpels, cataract extractors (obsolete now we know, thanks to laser tech), forceps, clamps and even a speculum were among the things found. There they were-and among those ‘in the know’ there was little doubt as to their proper use.

    Wouldn’t it be fairer to assume they did in fact have more knowledge at their disposal than might be guessed at first? They did what they could with the materials at hand, whether that be flint or metal, but one can’t deny them having the knowledge. After all-if ancient men could build monuments and edifices that to this day baffle even modern engineers, they surely could manufacture exquisite ceremonial and personal items of adornment! :)

  • Susan

    Dr Veith I must respectfully take issue with your assumption that ancient men had no sophisticated tools. Why not, simply because none of the detailed processes used to manufacture them survive? Haven’t men ‘always’ seemed to know how to do and make things? Are we not made in God’s image-therefore our knowledge has not really ‘evolved’ so much as ‘recovered’, certainly after the Flood and surely after the cultural shock and inevitable loss that resulted after Babel? The Roman physician Galen, for example, was found to have used tools virtually identical to those used today by doctors; when laid side-by-side with modern medical tools there were very few differences between them. Scalpels, cataract extractors (obsolete now we know, thanks to laser tech), forceps, clamps and even a speculum were among the things found. There they were-and among those ‘in the know’ there was little doubt as to their proper use.

    Wouldn’t it be fairer to assume they did in fact have more knowledge at their disposal than might be guessed at first? They did what they could with the materials at hand, whether that be flint or metal, but one can’t deny them having the knowledge. After all-if ancient men could build monuments and edifices that to this day baffle even modern engineers, they surely could manufacture exquisite ceremonial and personal items of adornment! :)


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