I’ve though about this one quite carefully, and can’t see any reason not to share it with the readers to see what they think. Some weeks ago, reader Andy Dennis wrote to me, posing an interesting question about the location of the Staffordshire Hoard. I give advance warning that I know little about the Staffordshire Hoard, and although I’m interested in it and it’s history, I’m largely pragmatic over the artefacts found down on the Warrenhouse. I have, of course, posted of my support for Brian Stringer’s project for a monument, and of my bewilderment at some of the civic and amateur attitudes to this remarkable find. However, my knowledge of the time period and history concerned is scant.
I know there are many readers for who the Hoard is a fascination, so I’d be interested to hear what people engaged with the story and the history have to say. Andy makes some interesting points, so I just thought I’d toss this out there and see what you guys have to say…
Andy posed this question:
I watched Channel 4’s ‘analysis’ of the Saxon Gold last evening. I was astonished that in their search for a context (why here?) in the landscape no mention was made of Crane Brook. Sure, today it’s little more than a dribble, but imagine what it would be like today, with the rain we’ve had recently, without interception by reservoir and canal. In Saxon times this would either have been a significant obstacle or a substantial Roman-built crossing, possibly some sort of causeway and culvert. Either way, as a way of pinpointing the knoll where the treasure was found it would have been very useful, especially if the intention was to explain its location to someone not present at the burial. The site also commands views along a considerable stretch of the Watling Street and could have been a good base from which to ambush travellers as they crossed the brook, though I accept the archaeology doesn’t support an argument for more than this one event.
The route from Lichfield to Wolverhampton also diverted from Watling Street west of the brook; the old Brownhills Road. Both Hammerwich and Ogley Hay existed at the time and there must have been a convenient route between them. Could that be the old footpath from Church Lane to Watling Street? Whatever, there must have been more than just the Roman road by which to locate the site and we can be sure the Crane Brook was around at the time.
Am I missing something here?