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Hoard

From Academic Kids

For the software, see hoard memory allocator.

In archaeology, a hoard is a collection of artefacts purposefully buried in the ground, usually with the intention of later recovery by the hoarder. Either due to forgetfulness, or the death of the hoarder, some hoards were never recovered and survived to be uncovered by metal-detectorists, members of the public and archaeologists much later.

Hoards may be of precious metals, coinage, tools or more rarely, pottery. There are various classifications depending on the nature of the hoard.

A founder's hoard contains broken or unfit metal objects, ingots, casting waste, and often complete objects, in a finished state. These were probably burried with the intention to recover at a later time.

A merchant's hoard is a collection of various functional items which, it is conjectured, were buried by a travelling merchant for safety, with the intention of later retrieval.

A personal hoard is a collection of personal objects buried for safety in times of unrest.

A hoard of loot is a buried collection of spoils from raiding and is more in keeping with the popular idea of 'buried treasure'.

Votive hoards are different from the above in that they represent purposeful deposition of items, either all at once or over time for ritual purposes, without an intent to recover them. Furthermore, votive hoards need not be 'manufactured' goods, but can include organic amulets and animal remains. Votive hoards are often distinguished from more functional deposits by the nature of the goods themselves (from animal bones to diminuitive artefacts), the places buried (being often associated with watery places, burial mounds and boundaries), and the treatment of the deposit (careful or haphazard placement and whether ritually destroyed/broken).

Hoards provide a useful method of providing dates for artefacts through association as they can usually be assumed to be contemporary and therefore used in creating chronologies. Hoards can also be considered to be an indicator of the relative degree of unrest in ancient societies.

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