Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling has surprised historians by claiming ownership of the UK’s largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold. The hoard, uncovered by a metal detectorist in a Staffordshire field, is believed to have lain undiscovered since the 7th Century although Mr Darling later claimed to have “left it there for safekeeping” while attending a Stag weekend in July 2008, after which he was “unable to find it again.”
“I am a silly sausage,” the Chancellor said at a press conference earlier today. “I was hoping I could clear up this mess without anyone finding out about it, but I suppose the cat’s out of the bag now. Still, no real harm done,” he continued, “so if you wouldn’t mind giving it back now, I’d really appreciate it.”
Experts have described the hoard as the most significant discovery of its kind in the UK, consisting of approximately 5kg of gold and 2.5kg of silver, far more than was found in the Sutton Hoo excavation of 1939.
“That’s why it’s quite important I get it back,” Mr Darling said. “Sort of now-ish, if that’s possible. Only it’d help me quite a bit, what with the economy and everything.”
When asked about the circumstances that led to him losing the hoard, Mr. Darling seemed hazy on the details, but blamed his lack of certainty on the fact that he was “really rather drunk at the time.”
“You know how it is,” he explained, “we were on a pub crawl, and I was dragging this massive haul of Anglo-Saxon gold around with me. Well, I mean, who can be bothered with lugging the best part of eight kilos of precious metal around with them when they’re a bit tipsy? Not me, that’s for sure. So, anyway, we were walking across this field when it suddenly occurred to me that I could bury it there for safekeeping, then come back and collect it later.”
Unfortunately — as he went on to relate in not especially convincing tones — when he retraced his steps the next day, Mr. Darling was unable to find the spot where he had buried the hoard, and realised he was “in a bit of a pickle.”
“I’m holding my hands up on this one,” the Chancellor told reporters, who had been joined by a crowd of increasingly angry historians. ‘I made a mistake, and I’ll be working hard to make up for it. But in the meantime, if you could just hand over the gold, I’ll be on my way.”