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The Hurbuck hoard

  • Using tools in the fields

    Using tools in the fields

  • Using tools in the fields

    Using tools in the fields

 

Length: 41.000 cm (scythe (max.))

M&ME 1912,7-23,3-5; 7-15

    The Hurbuck hoard

    Anglo-Saxon, 9th-early 10th century AD
    From Hurbuck, County Durham, England

    This hoard contained a sword, a single-edged knife (seax) and thirteen blades and tools used in farming and woodworking. They were found by a fisherman in a stream. All the items were forged from iron and are evidence for the essential skills of the blacksmith.

    Most of these tools would have been fitted with wooden handles. There were four straight scythe blades for cutting grass or grain, and a pickaxe. The hoard also included an adze, axe heads, a spoon bit and borer, all for wood working.

    In Anglo-Saxon England almost every family was involved in agricultural work, whether growing crops or looking after livestock. Woodworking tools were essential for making everything from cups, carts and barrels to houses. Tools like these have changed very little since Roman times and the sword and seax were important for dating the hoard to the decades around the year 900.

    D.M. Wilson, 'Craft and industry' in The archaeology of Anglo-Saxon (London, Methuen, 1972), pp. 255-56

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