The Staffordshire Hoard is the largest find of Anglo-Saxon gold and silverwork ever found. It was discovered on the 5th July 2009 nearby to the village of Hammerwich, near Staffordshire. In its collection there were more than 1500 items that have been roughly dated to around the 7th-8th Centuries AD. The quality of the workmanship is extremely high and the sheer depth of artwork and skill seen in the find makes it a fascinating collection.
One of the many Staffordshire Hoard finds included fragments of at least one Angle-Saxon helmet. In the spring of 2010, work began within the Archaeological Computing Research Group at Southampton University to complete a workable photorealistic interpretation for a conference at the British Museum to show what a helmet with all the separate pieces fitted together might have looked like. This can be changed as further investigation of the hoard reveals other possible helmet fittings.
Research for the model was completed alongside Anglo-Saxon specialist Professor David Hinton at the University of Southampton, with analogies to other helmets across Europe from a similar time period to develop a working interpretation that can not only highlight many high fidelity rendering techniques, but also maintain credibility.
The elements that physically remain in the material record are fragments of a series of embossed panels. Because of their condition, both patterns had to be completed by adapting elements from panels found on other helmets, notably the one in the ship-burial at Sutton Hoo.
The 3D graphic is a successful combination of archaeological knowledge, digital technologies, and artistic sensibility.
In June 2011 a team from City of Birmingham Museums and Art Galleries visited the Southampton CT Lab to gain a greater understanding of the physical properties of the Pectoral Cross, a pendant cross with a large cabochon stone, a garnet. Filigree gold wires soldered to the arms of the cross form plant-stems, probably in allusion to God giving life to the world. In its current state, the top arm is detached and the left arm has been bent upwards and deformed. It was probably suspended on a cord or chain and worn by a senior member of the clergy.
To provide a greater understanding of how it may have looked in its complete form, virtual reconstruction work has been completed by the Southampton University Archaeological Computing Research Group.
- David Hinton
- Grant Cox