Archaeologist thrilled by Staffordshire hoard of Anglo Saxon treasure
The first archaeologist to see the Anglo-Saxon hoard found in Staffordshire has spoken about his amazement at the possibilities of the find.
Duncan Slarke, from Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, was called in after metal detector enthusiast Terry Herbert discovered the haul in a field near Lichfield.
Experts have described the hoard, which could be as much as 1,400 years old, as one of the most significant finds in Anglo-Saxon history.
"Seeing the material for the first time was absolutely breathtaking," said Mr Slarke. "I was there for 4 hours just looking at the material and the finder actually called me Duncan Wow - that was all I could say, wow.
"It was find after find after find of the most staggering quality."
Mr Slarke added research into the items, which are mainly battle-related, could be the basis of "never-ending study".
The discovery has been compared to the 1939 find of Sutton Hoo, which saw artefacts unearthed from Saxon burial mounds in Suffolk and revolutionised understanding of that time period.
But Mr Slarke thinks this could outweigh even that breakthrough: "There is 5kg of gold found in Staffordshire hoard and in Sutton Hoo it was less than 1 1/2 kg. In terms of quantity, it exceeds the best that we've got."