This is another in the popular series of books that showcases finds largely recovered by metal-detectorists and recorded by the Portable Antiquities Scheme. The objects presented are mouth-watering. There is among them a quartzite bifacial hand axe of Lower or Middle Palaeolithic date, a Bronze Age bracelet of sheet gold, three torcs that represent the earliest Iron Age gold known in Britain, an enamelled souvenir pan from Hadrian’s Wall, the Anglo- Saxon Staffordshire Hoard, a medieval heraldic harness mount, and a post-medieval pocket sundial.
Inevitably, the book reminds us how little we know about the objects’ context. Hoards are well represented, but it is frustrating that questions of what determined their location or ‘marked the spot’ cannot be addressed.
Most of the objects fall within the legal definition of Treasure, but even those that do not are what the author considers ‘a treasured possession’. Given the objects’ value as a means to ‘understand the story of the people’ of Staffordshire, they should be as much a treasured possession to us as to the original owner.
This review appeared in CA 340.