Ten years on from the discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard

I went back to the field where it all started to meet with Fred Johnson, the owner of the farm and Steve Dean, former Archaeologist for Staffordshire County Council who led the excavation work.

It’s hard to believe that this time ten years ago the Staffordshire Hoard was discovered.

I still remember how exciting it was, not just for all of us involved, but for everyone in Staffordshire and even across the globe. Even to this day, it still has people talking.

On the actual day of the find I was discussing ideas for a new logo for the county council with Cabinet Members and senior managers. Funny enough, one idea being using the Staffordshire Knot. I even suggested that it should be 24-caret gold which didn’t go down to well.

It was shortly after that meeting, that I was told there had been one of the greatest finds since Tutankhamun. Seeing photos shortly after verified just how significant this find was and seeing the story unfold is something I won’t forget.

During the early period, only a select few of us actually knew about it. I’ve never forgotten the day I told the senior leadership team and cabinet members and their reactions. The big challenge for the team was keeping the news a secret until the items could be safely taken out of the ground.

As the days went on, it quickly became clear just how significant the discovery was. Finding items like swords, the serpents and the millefiori and seeing them being pieced together was like seeing a puzzle coming together.

It’s interesting to look back at what the hoard has meant for the county. During the time of its discovery all eyes were on Staffordshire, even garnering interest from as far as China. Not to mention a phone call from the Vatican. 

It remains a truly remarkable collection and there is nothing comparable in terms of content and quality in the UK or mainland Europe. And, with designs of the objects now being linked to many regions across Europe, it’s now part of our fascinating history and giving people another great reason to visit Staffordshire.

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