7 july 2010

Public to help create largest Anglo-Saxon archive

Arts

Sutton Hoo
Photograph of the reconstruction of the burial mound at the Sutton Hoo visitors' centre

An Oxford academic has challenged the public to help create the world’s largest archive of online material concerned with Anglo-Saxon England, after being inspired by the interest shown in last year’s discovery of the Staffordshire hoard.

The Archive, called Project Woruldhord (Old English for 'world-hoard'), is being launched this month by Dr Stuart Lee, of the Faculty of English and Computing Services.

People across the world are being asked to upload pictures and videos of Anglo-Saxon buildings or monuments in their area; any stories, poems, writings, art or songs they have heard or composed which relate to the period; and even audio recordings and videos of historical re-enactments.

Dr Stuart Lee, Project Leader, said: ‘With the discovery of the Staffordshire hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold last year, the amount of interest the public expressed in the discovery was striking and it has raised a lot of questions about our understanding of the period. The project aims to build on this interest, and asks the public to help us to collect our own hoard of Anglo-Saxon objects and material inspired by them, bringing together in one place material which will be useful and interesting to many, but so far known only by a few.

With the discovery of the Staffordshire hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold last year, the amount of interest the public expressed in the discovery was striking

Dr Stuart Lee

'The Archive will be the first mass observation that has ever been done on the period, and will be of use to historians, English literature students, archaeologists, art historians, and the general public.'

The archive has already received a number of submissions, including a video which shows Anglo-Saxon buildings while an elegy in Old English is read aloud.

Dr Lee added: ‘The study of the Anglo-Saxons is the study of the birth of England, and we hope the success of this archive will improve study into this fascinating period, as well as provide a range of interesting material for researchers, teachers, and the public to use for free. My hope is that the Archive will become a valuable free teaching resource for schools across the world, to encourage them to teach about the Anglo-Saxons in ways which are exciting and interesting to children.

‘It’s only fitting that the closing date for submissions will be 14 October, which marks the Battle of Hastings and the end of Anglo-Saxon rule.’

The archive will compile information and resources which relate to the period between the 5th and 11-12th Centuries: a period which included famous figures such as Alfred the Great, Harold Godwinson, and notable poems such as Beowulf.

The project follows Oxford's Great War Archive, which received 6,500 objects from the public.