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National Geographic Anglo-Saxon Exhibition: Rare Artifacts Go On Display Oct. 29 (PHOTOS)

The Huffington Post     First Posted: 10/17/11 02:17 PM ET   Updated: 12/17/11 05:12 AM ET

WASHINGTON -- The largest and most valuable collection of Anglo-Saxon artifacts ever recovered is headed to National Geographic Museum this month in a new exhibition, "Anglo-Saxon Gold: Gold from England’s Dark Ages." From Oct. 29 through March 4, more than 100 artifacts encrusted with silver, gold and garnets will be on display.

The treasure, found on the site of what researchers believe was once a battlefield in the ancient kingdom of Mercia, dates from the seventh and eighth centuries. It was found by Terry Herbert, a metal detector enthusiast, who was puttering around in a Staffordshire field in 2009. As a collection, the pieces are estimated to be worth a whopping $5 million.

Known as the Staffordshire Hoard, it's an unusual find not least because nearly all the objects are military in nature -- there are no coins or objects associated with women, like jewelry or dress fittings. Despite the objects' military nature, many are highly decorative. For a sneak peek, take a look at our gallery below.

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This gold figure with filigree decoration, only 1.6 inches long, could represent any of several animals: A horse, bear, boar, or even a wolf. One thing for certain, however, is that it's the work of a master goldsmith.

Photo courtesy Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery
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