It's not uncommon for archaeologists in Europe to come across a cache of valuable items. Sometimes these items have been broken in some way to make them unusable. The experts always speculate why they're in such a condition. One reason I don't remember them expressing, burying the family valuables so they aren't stolen by the enemy. Or are they trying to avoid the stereotypical but valid assumption of "buried treasure?"
Europe and the British Isles was invaded time and time again, and had their own revolutions and civil wars. Why don't the experts express the idea that someone may have buried the valuables so that some invading enemy doesn't find them? How would people in 400 A.D. safeguard their valuables? If the objects are destroyed in some way to make them unusable, the enemy soldiers are less likely to steal them. Coming back the owners could either repair or recycle them.
|Icenaen torques discovered in Northeastern Britain. The Icenae were a British tribe.|
These caches may still exist because the owner was never able to recover them. He or she probably did not tell many people, if at all. The owner and other people s/he have told may have been killed during the enemy's invasion. S/he may have been enslaved and never able to return. S/he may have died some other way, illness maybe. S/he may never had the resources to come back again. It may never have been safe enough to return. Then the owner's wealth would have been left unknown in the ground to be disturbed ages later for others to ponder over.