In this last post I wanted to flag up one of our treasures that does not currently qualify as Treasure, even though it’s a hoard!
The Scraptoft hoard is an important assemblage of 11th century tools. Because it is not Prehistoric, this base metal hoard is not Treasure, but the information gleaned from it means that it is really an archaeological treasure.
The hoard consisted of five iron objects: an axe; a plough coulter; a long seax; a scythe; and a collar/clip. All objects were in a remarkable state of preservation, having been found partly exposed in a badgers Sett. The assemblage represents late Saxon life, agricultural and woodworking tools alongside a weapon (long seax). Large iron objects are not common on excavated sites, and iron is not routinely searched for by detectorists, so along with another 11 such iron work hoards (all of which contain similar tools) it provides useful information for this period.
It has been argued that these hoards may have been ‘ritual’ deposits, possibly marking the abandonment of sites and suggesting lingering Pagan practices in a Christian context, but it is very difficult to obtain a reason for deposition from the objects themselves and it may have occurred for many reasons.
My colleague Kevin Leahy has written an article about the hoard (and its contemporaries) for Medieval Archaeology 2013, available on-line if you have a Taylor and Francis log in.
The hoard is in the care of Leicestershire Museums.