Staffordshire Hoard teaches lesson in Anglo-Saxon metallurgy

Gold was believed to have magical powers in Anglo-Saxon society, which may have led to discovery of special processes to make the metal appear "more golden than gold." These findings are part of a new study of the Staffordshire Hoard which "showed goldsmiths knew how to remove alloyed metals such as copper and silver from the surface of objects."

Over 200 objects were scanned, using a special x-ray treatment, which revealed the technique. "Relatively little is known about Anglo-Saxon goldsmithing, but achieving this surface treatment would have been a skilled task, one we now know they were familiar with," a British Museum spokesman said.

Around 300 of the 4,000 artifacts in the Hoard are on display at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.