January 19, 2010

The magic is lost when an artefact is taken from its geographical context

Posted at 10:04 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

As the appeal to keep the Staffordshire Hoard in the Midlands region continues, Dr David Starkey joins a growing list of supporters of this campaign all of whom claim that locating the artefacts near to where they were found gives them more of a sense of context – a historic resonance that they have wit their location. We should remember when this is mentioned that there are few cases where this contextual importance is as relevant as that of the Elgin Marbles – they were designed specifically for one location & many of them were in fact carved in-situ there.

Birmingham Mail

Public appeal launched for Staffordshire Hoard fund
Jan 14 2010 by Edward Chadwick, Birmingham Mail

THE Midlands will miss out on a chance to purchase its own history if it fails to raise the cash to keep the Staffordshire Hoard in the region.

That is the view of the TV history expert Dr David Starkey who was in Birmingham to launch a public appeal to raise the remaining £2.8 million needed to secure the awe-inspiring Anglo Saxon treasure.

The historian said the 1,800 pieces of gold and silver were likely to be the spoils of a battle between the 7th Century pagan King of Worcester, Penda and his Christian enemy, either King Edwin or King Oswald, Edwin’s successor.

Speaking at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, he said: “This is the foundation on which to learn a whole new wonderful story.

“We’re going back to a battle where King Penda’s armies duffed up and slaughtered his foes and physically ripped these pieces from them.

“It’s an astonishing tale. This is the beginning of history in the Midlands and it would be such a shame if it were to be lost.

“I’m not against art being moved, otherwise galleries across the world would be empty but in this case there’s a sense of historic resonance with the hoard and the Midlands.

“Taken out of the geographic context, some of its magic is lost.”

Dr Starkey, the face of dozens of TV documentaries focusing on British history, said he was confident that the public were so taken by the story that they would quickly raise the cash that was needed.

A £300,000 grant from the Art Fund Charity has already been pledged towards the overall £3.3 million cost. Birmingham City Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council have also each promised £100,000 – leaving a further £2.8 million to be found by the April 17 deadline.

He said it was “unthinkable” that the hoard could go to another country and believes that the Government would protect it with an export ban.

Metal detector enthusiast Terry Herbert, 55, made the staggering find in a field in Burntwood, Staffordshire, last July. The jaw-dropping hoard went on show in Birmingham for eight weeks and was then moved to the British Museum where it was valued by a panel of experts.

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