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Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Staffordshire Hoard 1

Part of a sword from the Staffordshire Hoard

GET READY:

What's the most expensive thing you ever found? What's the most expensive thing you ever lost?

READ THIS:

The Staffordshire Hoard is the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver metalwork yet found. It was discovered in a field near Lichfield, in Staffordshire, England, on July 5, 2009. It consists of some 3,500 items that are nearly all martial in character. The artifacts have been tentatively dated to the 7th or 8th centuries, in the time of the Kingdom of Mercia.

Experts are not sure why the hoard was put there. The average quality of the workmanship is extremely high. Parts of a large number of individual objects, such as swords or helmets, were found in the hoard.

(to be continued)

NOTES:

This text is based on an article at Wikipedia. You can see the original here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Staffordshire_Hoard

Two more articles about the hoard can be found here:
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/11/gold-hoard/alexander-text
http://www.staffordshirehoard.org.uk/

This story will be continued in tomorrow's lesson.

PRACTICE:

Here are some of the difficult words in this article. Match them to their meanings.

GROUP 1
1. 7th or 8th centuries
2. the Anglo-Saxons
3. Kingdom of Mercia

a. the ancestors of the modern English people
b. sometime between 601 and 800 A.D.
c. one small country among several in old England

GROUP 2
4. an artifact
5. a hoard
6. martial
7. metalwork
8. swords and helmets

d. these things are used for fighting, either to attack or to protect oneself
e. a thing which has been made by a person
f. things made of gold, silver, and so on
g. a collection of valuable things; especially a collection that has been hidden
h. connected to the military or organized fighting

GROUP 3
9. workmanship
10. character
11. to consist of
12. an expert
13. tentatively

i. the skill that something is made with
j. someone who knows a lot about something
k. not certainly
l. nature, quality
m. to be made of

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION OR WRITING:

1. What is the Staffordshire Hoard? Where and when was it discovered?
2. Has an ancient treasure ever been discovered in your hometown or country? Talk about it.
3. Why do you think the Staffordshire Hoard was hidden?

ANSWERS TO THE PRACTICE (with explanations):

GROUP 1
1. 7th or 8th centuries: b. sometime between 601 and 800 A.D. The 21st century goes from 2011-2100. So the "hundred" numbers are always 100 below the number of the century. The 7th century is 601-700; the 8th century is 701-800. and so on.
2. the Anglo-Saxons: a. the ancestors of the modern English people. The Angles, the Saxons, and the Jutes came to England from the European continent. Together they were called "Anglo-Saxons." They were important between about 550 and 1066 A.D. "England" means "Land of the Angles."
3. Kingdom of Mercia: c. one small country among several in old England. Some experts say that seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms came together in 927 A.D. to form the Kingdom of England.

GROUP 2:
4. an artifact: e. a thing which has been made by a person; especially a historical or cultural object.
5. a hoard: g. a collection of valuable things; especially a collection that has been hidden. This can also be a verb; people might hoard food in case of an emergency.
6. martial: h. connected to the military or organized fighting. It comes from Mars, the Roman god of war.
7. metalwork: f. things made of gold, silver, and so on; in other words, things made of metal, especially fine things like rings, weapons, etc.
8. swords and helmets: d. these things are used for fighting, either to attack or to protect oneself. Swords are used for cutting and stabbing; helmets are used to protect the head.

GROUP 3:
9. workmanship: i. the skill that something is made with. "A company's profits can suffer if their product has poor workmanship."
10. character: l. nature, quality. We can use this for people (He has good moral character") or things.
11. to consist of: m. to be made of. "A square consists of a figure with four equal sides, joined at ninety degree angles."
12. an expert: j. someone who knows a lot about something. "Shakespeare was a drama expert." Can also be an adjective: "Shakespeare was an expert writer."
13. tentatively: k. not certainly. To be tentative is to be unsure; here it means the dates have been assigned, but the experts aren't sure they're correct.

This lesson is ©2011 by James Baquet. You may share this work freely. Teachers may use it in the classroom, as long as students are told the source (URL). You may not publish this material or sell it. Please write to me if you have any questions about "fair use."

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