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...but acquiring the food, shelter and weapons still needs some physical portable value method that is acceptable to the seller. Gold, in the form of jewellery, is carried around in many  cultures as not only ostentation, but also as a sort of credit card in an emergency. It's value that you can carry with you always. If the bottom really falls out...

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 05:13:41 PM EST
This news two months ago got me thinking...

Anglo-Saxon gold hoard is the biggest - and could get bigger | UK news | The Guardian

Without question this is the largest group of gold artefacts ever found in British soil. Many of the pieces are of the highest quality design and technique, from a time that excelled in the creation of fine jewellery and weaponry. There really is nothing like it, but it reminds me of a prehistoric find made near Salisbury in the 1980s.

Here, too, archaeologists were staggered by the sheer scale: there were more than 500 bronze items, including curious miniature shields. But that hoard was illegally excavated and sold, and we will never fully understand it. By contrast, thanks to Herbert's professional skills and attitude, we know everything we could about the Staffordshire gold's context. That adds immensely to its academic value.

We don't yet know how big it is. The present list runs to 1,345 objects, including 56 lumps of earth. X-rays show them to be studded with pieces of metal. You can make out tiny decorative animals and jewel settings, but until the lumps are taken apart we will not know what's there. In other words, archaeologists have the prospect of themselves being able to excavate part of the country's most spectacular ancient hoard.

The phenomenon of buried hoards and the hobbyists scouring the land with metal detectors is specific to Britain - I am not aware of anything comparable on the Continent. Why is this?

The fact is that "civilisation" came to Britain with the Roman Legions and didn't outlast them very long. People who had some wealth got scared of the turmoil and decided to bury their wealth to return to it "when things get better". Trouble was, things didn't get better for many decades or even centuries. In any case, the turmoil outlived the people who knew where these buries hordes were.

I think what this illustrates is that in times of insecurity people will hoard gold, but in the end it won't do them any good...

The only "value you can carry with you always" is your skills.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 26th, 2009 at 04:22:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How many doctors/engineers/accountants/etc... from their country of origin drive taxis or serve fries in Paris, NYC or London ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Nov 26th, 2009 at 04:44:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And how many doctors/engineers/accountants from Paris, NYC or London drive taxis or serve fries in Paris, NYC or London?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 26th, 2009 at 05:05:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
in a bad situation, it's certainly worth it.
by wu ming on Thu Nov 26th, 2009 at 12:24:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The phenomenon of buried hoards and the hobbyists scouring the land with metal detectors is specific to Britain - I am not aware of anything comparable on the Continent.

The hobbyists scouring the land may be confined to Britain, but buried hoards are a feature of many countries to some extent.

There's always the minor noble who buried his silverware before fleeing an oncoming army, and whose family never got around to getting back to said silverware (usually because the land it was buried on had changed hands or the family had ceased to exist during the war).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Nov 26th, 2009 at 06:36:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess my claim is that in Britain everyone and their mother buried hoards, not just the odd minor noble here and there.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 26th, 2009 at 07:00:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Sweden, I think viking graves with gold and silver for Valhalla is more common then buried hoards.

Then again, in Sweden using a metal detector to search for buried treasure is forbidden. And if you do find something older hen 100 years you have to hand it in to museums (you get reimbursed with todays value of the metal included in the objects). So treasure hunting is not that common.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Nov 26th, 2009 at 07:39:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the UK hoards are the property of the Crown. You get handsomely compensated, but you don't get to keep the items.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 26th, 2009 at 07:42:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Treasure trove - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coroners continue to have jurisdiction to inquire into any treasure found in their districts, and into who are or are suspected to be its finders.[48] Anyone finding an object he or she believes or has reasonable grounds to believe is treasure must notify the coroner for the district in which the object is found within 14 days starting from the day after the find or, if later, the day on which the finder first believes or has reason to believe the object is treasure.[49] Not doing so is an offence.[50] Inquests are held without a jury unless the coroner decides otherwise.[51] The coroner must notify the British Museum if his or her district is in England, the Department of the Environment if it is in Northern Ireland, or the National Museum Wales if it is in Wales.[52] The coroner must also take reasonable steps to notify any person who appears may have found the treasure; any person who, at the time it was found, occupied land which it appears may be where the treasure was found;[53] and any other interested persons, including persons involved in the find or having an interest in the land where the treasure was found at that time or since.[54] However, coroners still have no power to make any legal determination as to whether the finder, landowner or occupier of the land has title to the treasure. The courts have to resolve that issue, and may also review coroners' decisions in relation to treasure.[55][33]

When treasure has vested in the Crown and is to be transferred to a museum, the Secretary of State is required to determine whether a reward should be paid by the museum before the transfer[56] to the finder or any other person involved in the finding of the treasure, the occupier of the land at the time of the find, or any person who had an interest in the land at the time of the find or has had such an interest at any time since then.[57] If the Secretary of State determines that a reward should be paid, he or she must also determine the market value of the treasure (assisted by the Treasure Valuation Committee),[58] the amount of the reward (which cannot exceed the market value), to whom the reward should be paid and, if more than one person should be paid, how much each person should receive.[59][33]



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Nov 30th, 2009 at 08:10:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Such a "The phenomenon of buried hoards and the hobbyists scouring the land" occurred in the USA in the 1820s & '30s--sans electronic metal detectors. Perhaps it was fed in part by the knowledge that the Cherokee had a gold mine in northern Georgia, the proceeds from which they used to finance their legal contest of Andrew Jackson's Indian removal policies to the U.S. Supreme Court.

But there is also the story of Joseph Smith and the Angel Moroni who he described as first appearing to him in 1823 and telling him of the gold tablets buried on Hill Cumorah, providentially located adjacent to the Smith family farm in upstate New York. Smith describes retrieving the tablets in 1827 along with the Urim and Thummim, Old Testament stones for divination. As rumors spread, this likely added to the number of those "scouring the land."

Word of the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in California turned the quest into one purely for naturally occurring precious metals, which, when found, had the effect of spurring the expeditious admission of California as a state to the United States in 1850 and Nevada in 1864. From then until the end of the century there was, essentially, free land and free money for those who could find it and claim it.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Nov 26th, 2009 at 12:41:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, as far as I know, most hoards in Britain were of Viking origin, and were offerings to the gods.

The reason why they are theorizing that this horde is not an offering is that the vikings very rarely showed such generosity towards their gods. There was frankly too much gold in the hoard.

What is quite out of the question is that this hoard had anything to do with the Romans leaving. The gold has written inscriptions tentatively dated to the seventh to early ninth century.

See Wikipedia for more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Staffordshire_Hoard

by Trond Ove on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 04:57:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If it gets to that point and someone wants to sell me food, guns, ammo, or land for shiny metal, I'll probably have a wonderfully Gothic bridge in Brooklyn to sell as well.  I shall be accepting neither gold nor silver for any of the above.
by rifek on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 01:17:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Precisely.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 03:51:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... saving - a quarter each in equity, bonds, interest-yielding "cash", and physical gold bullion, with profits taken every quarter or year at fixed times to maintain the ratios - has return on gold dragging down average returns in most situations, but exploding in value in case of an across the board collapse that takes down equity, bonds and cash alike.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Nov 30th, 2009 at 11:29:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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