Friday, April 9, 2010

Lost Gold of the Dark Ages - Staffordshire Hoard

Lost Gold of the Dark Ages

The Staffordshire Hoard

Largest stash of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found

April, 2010

The "Lost Gold of the Dark Ages" will premier on the National Geographic channel Sunday April 18th at 9 PM.

From the National Geographic Channel web site:

"Lost Gold of the Dark Ages chronicles the amazing story of how an amateur metal-detecting enthusiast discovered a gold hoard of more than 1,500 artifacts dating back a millenium, and valued at over $5 million.... To solve the mystery of where the gold came from, to whom it belonged and why it was buried, historians take us on a journey back into the Dark Ages."

The Staffordshire Hoard is the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found.

Discovered near Watling Street, Staffordshire. (One of the major thoroughfares of Roman Britain. The thoroughfare ran from for about 250 miles from Dover past Wroxeter.) The first pieces of the Staffordshire Hoard were found in early July 2009 by Mr Terry Herbert while he was metal detecting in a field in southern Staffordshire.
Finds included sword fittings, part of a helmet and three gold Christian crosses. Most of the complete objects are made of gold. Some are decorated with pieces of garnet, a deep red semi-precious stone, others with fine filigree work or patterns made up of animals with interlaced bodies. The red garnet gems are thought to be from as far away as India or Sri Lanka.
Current thinking dates the hoard to the later 600s or earlier 700s AD.

There's nothing like seeing some news about possible ancestors of a HAM DNA Project participant. I ran a Y-Search in 2007, and found some evidence of a match for DNA participant Josh Ham to Staffordshire, England.

There is probably more data collected from Y-Search today, but this is what I found for HAM DNA Group #7 from the Y-Search of 2007:

From the totals that I have for England, and without going to very much trouble of attempting to determine the name of the County for the cities, I get a rough account of the results that look something like this:

Staffordshire (3)
Kingstone, Staffordshire 1
Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire 1
Bedfordshire (2)
Stanbridge, Bedfordshire 1
Middlesex 2

others (less than 4 each): 18

I might want to repeat here that this haplotype is also known as "I1b2a," but here the search is for "I1c."
It is apparent that from the locations in England, the most likely locations of origin should be closely matched by Staffordshire, followed next by Bedfordshire and Middlesex.

Josh is actually haplotype I2b, renamed by FTDNA in 2007 from haplotype I1c. This Y-Search is now out of date, and there should be more DNA data available today. Josh descends from Stephen HAM of Culpeper County, Virginia. This Stephen is believed to be the son of Edward HAM, and possibly descends from Samuel HAM of Orange County, Virginia. This is still to be confirmed, as we are still waiting for more direct descendants of the Orange County or Culpeper County Ham line to participate in the DNA Project. I believe some descendants of Samuel Ham may still be living in Orange County today.

The HAM DNA Y-Search that I did gives an indication that Josh may be from County Stafford. As we know, the Ham surname is a place name, taken from local towns of the name when surnames were adopted. Staffordshire is located in Western England, between Lancashire and Worcestershire. I am not currently aware of a town called "Ham" in Staffordshire. However, research for our book does indicate the HAM surname to be in use in Middlesex.

From the Y-Search (above), Kingstone is about 15 miles from Stoke upon Trent.

From that Y-Search, Stanbridge, Bedfordshire would be about 100 miles away from the locations in Staffordshire.
In County Stafford, parishes in the vicinity would include St. Chad and St. Mary.

In County Middlesex, parishes would include Clerkenwell (or Clarkenwell) and would be about 135 miles (or 217 km) away from Staffordshire. London would be about 135 miles away from Staffordshire, but London is only about 35 miles away from Bedfordshire.

The only mention in our book of County Bedford is in the will of Adam FRIDAY, dated 1412 (mentions Richard HALM'). That would be in the vicinity of Weston, Multon, and Holbech.

I don't have much about this haplotype group "I2b," but the Y-Search also showed matches in Northern Ireland and Scotland. If not a variant of the Vikings or Danes, then I would suspect "I2b" could be either Saxon or Roman. (It would appear that most native peoples of England were R1b.)

Although I am overdue on updating the Y-Search, participants in the DNA Project are helping us to recognize the possible origins of the HAM surname.

further information:
The Staffordshire Hoard web site, images, & Information page:

(has village reconstruction, news, pictures of artifacts, etc.)
Lost Gold of the Dark Ages (the Staffordshire hoard video)

from the National Geographic channel:

The British Museum exhibit (the hoard on display November 3, 2009 through Apr 17, 2010 )
British Museum press release:

Book on sale at the British Museum:

HAM DNA Project Group # 7 Y-Search
GENUKI County map of Britain

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