Sutton Hoo: Anglo-Saxon goldsmiths exposed as fraudsters

Sutton Hoo: Anglo-Saxon goldsmiths exposed as fraudsters - but King Raedwald’s treasure was ‘the real deal’



Sutton Hoo mask
ES 31 08 06

ES 18 01 07..


The British Museum has revealed that many jewellery items taken from the period had been treated to remove alloyed metals from their surfaces to appear “more gold” than in reality.
However, Eleanor Blakelock, a leading archaeometalurgist who worked on the project, said the items taken from the historic find in Sutton Hoo for testing were “the real deal”.
Whereas analysis of inferior items revealed a higher metal content on the surface than below – indicating the craftsmen had used acid to deplete impurities – the shoulder clasp and great buckle found in the burial ship of King Raedwald were pure throughout.
Dr Blakelock said: “Although many of the items were shown to have had the trick carried out on them, the ones from Sutton Hoo were the real deal.
“For me, who started my career as Anglo-Saxon archaeologist, to be analysing these pieces was an absolute honour.
“It was an amazing thing to do but incredibly nerve wracking.
The project, which is the largest study of its kind, is said to have been of “enormous significance” and provided new insights into the metals used by Anglo-Saxon goldsmiths and the techniques they used.
The finds taken from Sutton Hoo were first revealed in 1939, as part of an archaeological excavation commissioned by the landowner Edith Pretty. Its discovery shed new light on a period of history that was largely unknown beforehand.
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About Gaby F

lectora, estudiosa de la historia antigua, especialmente la mitología germánica, indoeuropea. ".
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