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Saxon / Anglo-Saxon Archaeology & Artefacts


Gone But Not Forgotten
Aug 18, 2002
It sounds very impressive.

Anglo-Saxon king's tomb is biggest find since Sutton Hoo

By David Keys, Archaeology Correspondent

05 February 2004

Archaeologists have unearthed the spectacularly rich tomb of a Dark Age Anglo-Saxon king - the most important discovery since the Sutton Hoo ship burial 65 years ago.

Excavations at Southend-on-Sea revealed the intact tomb of an early seventh century Saxon monarch - almost certainly either Saeberht or Sigeberht, both kings of Dark Age Essex.

Saeberht - England's second Christian king - died around AD617. His kingdom included London and St Paul's Cathedral was almost certainly founded in his reign.

His uncle was the king of Kent responsible for the introduction of Christianity into Anglo-Saxon England. Sigeberht was murdered in 653 AD because "he was too ready to pardon his enemies". The tomb and its contents were discovered in almost perfect condition. The spectacular grave goods were found still "hanging" from iron pegs which had been hammered into the walls of the tomb.

Originally the burial chamber had been lined and roofed with planks, but the wood has long since disintegrated, allowing the tomb to fill up with earth.

The grave goods - designed to enable the king to live well in the next world - include a 75cm diameter copper cauldron, a 35cm hanging bowl from northern England or Ireland and an exquisite 25cm diameter copper bowl, probably from Italy.

There is also a 30cm high flagon, almost certainly from the Byzantine Empire, two gold foil crosses, an iron-framed folding stool, a sort of mobile throne, a gold reliquary which would probably have contained a bone fragment from a saint, four glass vessels, two drinking horns, the king's sword and the remains of his shield, two gold coins from Merovingian France, the remains of a lyre, and several iron-clad barrels and buckets, presumably for alcoholic drink.

The king's skeleton has not survived due to the acidic nature of the soil.

The royal tomb is one of the most important archaeological discoveries in Britain. It dates from the same period as the great Sutton Hoo ship burial, found in Suffolk in 1939, which contained the body of a king of East Anglia.

The excavations have been carried out by the Museum of London Archaeological Service and the objects will be on display at the Museum till 17 February and then from 21 February at Southend-on-Sea's Museum.

Burial chamber's secrets revealed

More details are being released of a Saxon burial chamber unearthed in Essex.

The 12-feet-wide, five-feet-high wood-lined chamber - dating from the 7th Century - was crammed with gold coins and ornaments.

But the remains of the ancient king have dissolved and experts have not yet been able to identify him.

The find in Prittlewell, Southend, is being hailed as a major discovery.

Some experts have likened the discovery to the find in 1939 of a Saxon burial ship in Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, one of Britain's most important archaeological sites.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2004/02/05 07:37:08 GMT

Remains of Anglo-Saxon princess go on show
THE remains of a sixth century princess found in a Lechlade archaeological dig have been placed in a museum.

Because she was buried among jewellery, archaeologists decided to nickname her Mrs Getty. This was a joking reference to the wealthy American oil dynasty.

Mrs Getty's was one of 219 bodies recovered from an Anglo-Saxon burial ground in Butler's Field, Lechlade, in 1985.

Her face has been reconstructed by Dr Caroline Wilkinson, whose expertise has led to her services being in demand by the producers of television programme Meet The Ancestors.

Mrs Getty is thought to have been between 25 and 30 years old when she died about 1,500 years ago.

Her final resting place is the newly-revamped Corinium Museum.

The museum, in Cirencester, has been closed for two years to undergo a £5m restoration and improvement programme.

It will re-open to the public on Wednesday, September 15, with Mrs Getty taking pride of place in the new Anglo-Saxon Gallery.

John Paddock, Cotswold District Council's head of museum services, said: "It is thought Saxons buried their dead with treasures for use in the next life.

"We don't know how she died or exactly who she was, but thanks to the amazing reconstruction techniques available, we do know we are looking at the face of a real woman."
I must go!

I took an american friend to this museum a few years back. He was not impressed. (largley because he failed to comprehend what it was all about.)
I remember corinium museum as having some rather triff mosaics. Guess they just didn't appeal? :(

i've always felt that there really is no art to find the minds construction in the face and I don't really get excited by the facial recinstructions - although I do enjoy the progs and other people's reactions to them.

Why do we (most of us) find them so fascinating?

There were a lot of those I recall. (says she who likes fancy tiling and has a lot in her hovel.)

One grouse I will have with the museum, is that they have a lot of replica church brasses, and yet they dont let you rub them. (says she wh is about the only person in the world who actuall rubs brasses these days...)
More Pretty Britons

Ancient Britons were a cut above
By Lewis Smith

THE discovery of decorated scissors that would once have trimmed the hair and moustaches of the Trinovanti tribe elite is being hailed as the earliest proof of the care Ancient Britons took over their hair during the rise of the Iron Age nouveaux riches before the Romans invaded.
Archaeologists found the scissors in an ancient ditch at Hamperden End, Henham, Essex, where they are thought to have been placed as a sacrifice to the gods.

The copper alloy scissors date from between 100BC and AD40 and would have been owned by a high-ranking member of the Trinovanti tribe, which dominated southern Britain. The decoration on the scissors is of the Celtic mirror style of La Tène art of between 200BC and AD100.

Never before has such craftsmanship been found on scissors of the era. Similar pairs of shears recovered by archaeologists were plain, including a pair found at Flag Fen, near Peterborough, inside a carved wooden case.

Jeremy Hill, the Iron Age curator at the British Museum, said: “These shears are certainly in a class of their own. They were probably used for personal grooming; microscopic analysis shows the blades have clearly been used.”

He added: “We know that people had started to cut their hair by this time and taken a new interest in personal hygiene. In many ways the people using them would have been the nouveaux riches of the Iron Age, taking on a lifestyle separating them from the plebs.”

Mike Pitts, of British Archaeology magazine, said the scissors helped to fill in the details of the toiletries used and owned by the rich and powerful in Iron Age Britain. Other items known to have been used include combs, ear scoops and make-up.

Attention to appearance was one of the characteristics of the British noted by the Roman invaders, who dismissed them as “vain”.

The scissors were discovered in 2002 before the laying of a gas pipe. They are now on display in a museum in Saffron Walden.

Unique sword brings prestige to Northumberland

A sword found at Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland has been declared the only one of its kind in the world. The 7th century Anglo Saxon weapon was found in 1960 by archaeologists working on the Bamburgh Research Project, including the late Dr Brian Hope-Taylor, and was rediscovered by chance following his death in 2001 when it passed into the hands of the Scottish Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. X-rays revealed the sword blade to have been made up of six individual strands of iron bonded together in a technique rarely before seen. Swords comprising four iron strands have been found previously but this is the first six stranded find ever recorded.

"We see a lot of swords here, but have never seen anything like this before,” said Dr David Starley, of the Royal Armouries in Leeds, “X-rays showed it to be an exceptional sword blade which is obviously of very high status and of European significance." The complexity of the design implies that the sword was created for a high ranking individual, possibly a king or a valued warrior.

Archaeologist Paul Gething remarked that the sword would have been instantly recognisable as a status symbol and would have significantly increased the prestige of its bearer; “In these times it was a case of the more ostentatious the better." he said. Both the construction of the blade and its highly decorated nature suggest a great deal of work was carried out in its creation which could have taken up to two months, and employed state of the art technology for its time.

Now, using modern technology it is hoped that more of the history of the sword can be revealed. A sample has been sent to the Royal Armouries in Leeds to help build a 3D image of what the sword looked like in its prime and metallurgical testing will enable experts to determine the exact constituents of the weapon. The fascinating blade is now on display at its former home in Bamburgh Castle. (June 23rd)

Charlie Cottrell

See the History Today articles:
Roman Britain to Anglo-Saxon England (October 1990)

The Making of England (February 1995)


Edit to amend subject title.
My sister did some digging in Bamburgh castle, not in 1960 obviously.
I've been to the beach that runs in front of the castle, it's brilliant!
Maybe this sword is Excalibur?
My imagination running away with me again...
Rare Saxon belt goes on display

The buckle was unearthed on the outskirts of London

A rare Anglo-Saxon belt buckle found by a treasure hunter with a metal detector is going on public display for the first time. The copper alloy buckle dates from between AD600 and AD720 and is only the second one of its type found in England.

It was unearthed recently on the outskirts of London by Bill Robson, who handed it to the Museum of London.

The belt is rare because it is in a style normally found in Spain.

Faye Simpson, community archaeologist at the museum, said: "This buckle is as beautiful as anything you could hope to find on Bond Street and would originally have been gilded - probably in gold or tin.

"This is a really exciting find, which has come to light through responsible metal detecting."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/engl ... 292646.stm
Anglo Saxon Sword new treasure at the BM

The remains of a 7th century sword, unearthed in a Lincolnshire field have proved a real treasure trove for the man who discovered them. The gold and garnet sword pommel and hilts were found by a metal detectorist in 2002 near the Lincolnshire town of Market Rasen. An independent treasure valuation committee placed their value at £12,500 and through funding assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Friends of the British Museum the exceptional items have now been acquired into the British Museum collection.

The remains are the first known examples of their type from Anglo Saxon England and offer vital clues, not only to the skills and trades of Anglo Saxon artisans, an area of history of which little is currently known, but also into the position England held in the wider community of that era. Similar sword designs have been found in Spain and Italy suggesting a mobility of people and goods in this period. The large garnet settings of the pommel are also of value to the history of gem stone trading and provenance since semi precious stones were in short supply in the 7th century when jewel resources from India and Sri Lanka had dried up.

“It is wonderful that the generous support of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the British Museum Friends has enabled us to preserve this extraordinary set of sword hilt fittings in the public domain.” Said Sonja Marzinzik, Curator of Prehistory and Europe at the British Museum, “We will probably never know whether the sword they decorated was ever used in battle, but there is no doubt that it would have been a stunning weapon to anyone who saw it.” (January 5th)

Charlie Cottrell

Aha! So that's where I left that damned sword!

Been looking for it for ages.

I'll nip over to the Museum and reclaim my property soon. 8)
More great finds at an ancient graveyard. But is this a case of robbing the dead? How long do you have to buried before its legal to make off with possessions buried with you?

'Dramatic' ancient cemetery found

The artefacts will be valued by the British Museum
A freelance archaeologist has uncovered what is thought to be the only known Anglo-Saxon royal burial site in the north of England.
Spectacular gold jewellery, weapons and clothing were found at the 109-grave cemetery, believed to date from the middle of the 7th Century.

Excavations were carried out after Steve Sherlock studied an aerial photo of the land near Redcar, Teesside.

Traditionally, Anglo-Saxon royalty were buried in the south, say experts.

The royals found near Redcar could be linked to the Kentish Princess Ethelburga who travelled north to marry Edwin, King of Northumbria.

Excavations began in 2005 and continued under Mr Sherlock's supervision with help from local archaeologists and volunteers.

After working six weeks every summer, the team has uncovered an area the size of half a football pitch near Loftus.

More at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/tees/7104498.stm
Anglo-Saxon finds at new Cheltenham academy site
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/engl ... 691565.stm

The site of the dig
The discoveries were made at the former Kingsmead School site

An Anglo-Saxon settlement has been discovered on the site of the new All Saints' Academy in Cheltenham.

Two skeletons, pottery and a large timber hall, all thought to date back to between the 6th to 8th Century, have been uncovered.

Steve Sheldon, of Cotswold Archaeology, said it was previously thought the area did not succumb to Saxon control during that period.

He said the settlement was one of the best finds of his career.

'Saxon influence'

It is thought the hall, measuring 11m by 6m (36ft by 20ft), was used for communal events such as feasts.

Mr Sheldon, who is directing the excavation, said he "didn't expect to find much" when the team started work.

Cliff Bateman, project manager at Cotswold Archaeology, said: "It would now appear that there were more pockets of Anglo-Saxon control in the Severn Valley than we previously thought.

"Anglo-Saxon burials have been found in Bishops Cleeve and Tewkesbury, but this discovery shows Saxon influence right on the very doorstep of Gloucester."

The academy is being built on the site of the former Kingsmead School.

'Learning opportunity'

Pupils from the former school, and from Christ College, will have a chance to look at the finds on 25 May before they are removed for dating and recording.

The items will then be donated to Cheltenham Museum.

Construction on the site is continuing and the academy is still on track to open in September 2011.

Helena Arnold, director of children and young people's department at Gloucester Diocese, said: "This will provide an excellent learning opportunity for students even before the construction process is under way.

"Whilst the academy looks to the future to provide first class facilities for the 21st Century, the archaeological find is an opportunity too for students to learn about the past and the culture from which we have developed."
How Sittingbourne discovered an archaeological treasure trove
A major haul of Anglo Saxon treasures has electrified the town's residents
Maev Kennedy guardian.co.uk, Sunday 15 August 2010 20.00 BST

Any day now the 11,000th visitor will wander into a small shopping arcade off the bedraggled main street of Sittingbourne in Kent, between the cash-for-gold jeweller's and the discount shop selling bales of cheap loo rolls, set down their shopping bags, and watch the history of Kent being rewritten.

An empty premises last used as a Christmas shop is now CSI Sittingbourne, an improvised laboratory where volunteers including – on this visit – teachers, housewives, a prison officer, students, a surgeon, pensioners and young mothers, are doing museum quality conservation work on spectacular finds from a major Anglo Saxon cemetery just outside the town. The cemetery, a find of international importance, came as a shock to Canterbury Archaeological Trust which had been keeping a rather bored watching brief on a building site believed to have been scoured clean by Victorian brick-clay diggers.

But thousands of objects have poured from hundreds of graves, some of royal quality. Volunteers have worked on beautiful garnet-and-gold jewellery, a gilt bronze buckle and sword mount strikingly like the Staffordshire hoard which caused world wide excitement last year, amber and glass jewellery, pots and jars, and two cow-horn shaped Frankish drinking glasses buried at either side of their proud owner's head. The volunteers are all trained and supervised by a highly experienced professional, Dana Goodburn-Brown, who is also a local resident and a force of nature. She has ruthlessly scavenged from former employers: the display cases came from an exhibition in Poland, the Museum of London loaned equipment. Tesco, the mall owner, has just extended use of the shop, rent, electricity and security free, so the work goes on at least until Christmas.

So far Goodburn-Brown has logged more than 1,200 volunteer hours, worth almost £250,000 if done professionally. The garnet brooch they cleaned may have lain on the breast of a princess, but more modest finds are also crucial. Dessicated insects, grass and fabric fibres may eventually help prove a gruesome theory that some Anglo Saxon dead lay in their graves for days or weeks, dressed in their finest and surrounded by their treasures, for friends and relatives to visit before they were finally buried.

"I've found a bug!" grandmother Sylvia Blackwell says, waving her scalpel. "This is one of the most exciting days of my life."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/ ... sure-trove
Saxon boat uncovered in Norfolk's River Ant

Saxon boat Five animal skulls were found near the hollowed oak boat

A Saxon boat has been found during flood defence work on a Norfolk river.

The boat, which is about 9.8 ft (3m) long and had been hollowed out by hand from a piece of oak, was found at the bottom of the River Ant.

Five animal skulls were found near the boat, which has been taken to York for treatment to preserve it.

The Environment Agency had commissioned work to take place between Horning Hall and Browns Hill when the discovery was made last month.

Once preservation has been finished the vessel will return to Norfolk, where the Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service want to display it at Norwich Castle Museum, an Environment Agency spokeswoman said.

Environment Agency project manager, Paul Mitchelmore, said: "This is the latest in a number of remarkable finds on the project.

"We are pleased that the Environment Agency has been able to uncover items that contribute to the knowledge of the rich history of the local area."
More Saxon archaeology:

Digging for Britain - 3. Anglo-Saxons

The Anglo-Saxons - they divided our land and heralded the arrival of the Dark Ages. But were they really just barbarians?

Dr Alice Roberts continues her journey through a year of archaeology, visiting the key sites that are throwing light on this most mysterious of periods. She visits the royal seat of power at Bamburgh, Northumbria and sees how the skeletons tell tales of violent death, but also of tenderness.

There's a remarkable community project in a shopping centre in Sittingbourne where people are curating the grave goods of their own ancestors. And there are treasures that make her wonder just how dark the Dark Ages really were.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0 ... gloSaxons/
talking of Dr Alice Roberts - I seem to have missed this prog:


don't know when the digging for britain series was filmed but I expect we'll be hearing the patter of tiny feet soon. oh looks like they've arrived - she now has a daughter according to her biog.
Britain's first hospital discovered
A site which may house Britain's earliest known hospital has been uncovered by archaeologists.
Published: 2:49PM BST 20 Oct 2010

Radio carbon analysis at the former Leper Hospital at St Mary Magdalen in Winchester, Hampshire, has provided a date range of AD 960-1030 for a series of burials, many exhibiting evidence of leprosy, on the site.

A number of other artefacts, pits, and postholes also relate to the same time including what appears to be a large sunken structure underneath a medieval infirmary.

Before this new claim, most historians and archaeologists thought that hospitals in the Britain only dated from after the Norman conquest of 1066.

''This is an important archaeological development,'' said Dr Simon Roffey from the University of Winchester which conducted the dig.

''Historically, it has always been assumed that hospitals were a post-conquest phenomena, the majority founded from the late 11th century onwards.

''However, our excavations have revealed a range of buildings and, more significantly, convincing evidence for a foundation in the 10th century.

''Our excavations at St Mary Magdalen offer an intriguing insight into a little known aspect of the history of both Winchester and England. It is undoubtedly a site of national importance.''

Among the earliest known hospitals in the UK is Harbledown in Canterbury founded by Lanfranc in the 1070s, following the Norman Conquest.

Professor Nicholas Orme, a leading researcher on medieval hospitals, added: ''I have only studied the documentary evidence but I could not find any such evidence for a hospital before 1066 except perhaps as an activity within a monastery or minster.

''A late Anglo-Saxon hospital would surely be a first for archaeology and indeed for history.''

Winchester was the capital of England throughout a large part of the Anglo-Saxon period and after the Norman Conquest. The capital was moved to London from the Hampshire city in the 12th century.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/ ... vered.html
Could be material for a new soap? Ends when Harold is brought in with an arrow in his eye.
Anglo-Saxon settlement unearthed in Northumberland

Anglo Saxon settlement find Investigations also revealed a number of other sites

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The remains of an Anglo-Saxon settlement have been discovered at a surface mine in Northumberland.

Buildings and artefacts dating from the 6th to 8th centuries have been uncovered at Shotton Surface Mine, on the Blagdon Estate, near Cramlington.

The site had been investigated by archaeologists before the start of open-cast mining work.

Experts said the find had provided "the first direct evidence" of Anglo-Saxon settlement in that part of the county.

A team of archaeologists from TWM Archaeology, funded by Banks Mining, undertook the excavation and discovered the settlement.
Remains 'surprise'

It comprised of at least six rectangular post-built halls - each thought to house a family unit - two buildings with sunken floors and a system of enclosures, fences and trackways.

Anglo-Saxon pottery, loom weights and metalworking residues have all been recovered from the site.

The archaeological investigations on the surface coal mine also revealed a number of other sites including several Iron Age roundhouses, ditches and pit alignments - which were used as land divisions.
Northumberlandia sculpture Part of the restoration plans for Shotton include the Northumberlandia landform

The potential of the site was recognised by Northumberland County Council archaeologists but despite the extensive preliminary work, the council said the remains came as a surprise.

Karen Derham, Northumberland County Council Assistant County Archaeologist, said: "We know Northumberland was at the heart of the early medieval Kingdom of Bernicia and yet archaeologists have so far only discovered a very small number of settlement sites, all previously in the north of the county.

"The surface mine at Shotton has given us the first direct evidence of Anglo-Saxon settlement in this part of the county and has confirmed its potential for making important archaeological discoveries."

Banks Mining has been operating Shotton Surface Mine since 2008.

Part of the restoration plans for Shotton include the Northumberlandia landform which is currently being constructed and will be open to the public in 2013.
Bicester Anglo-Saxon skeletons on display
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-ox ... e-12448019

Anglo-Saxon skeleton The remains date from 700-950 AD

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Twelve Anglo-Saxon skeletons discovered in Bicester during the construction of a community centre are now on display.

The remains date from 700-950 AD and were unearthed during ground work on the site last year.

The skeletons were exhumed from what is thought to be an old Christian burial ground and taken away for analysis.

Archaeologist Matthew Smith said: "The excavations offer an excellent opportunity to greater understand the people of Bicester in Saxon times."

After scientific work is complete the 12 skeletons will be interred in the memorial garden of the Church of the Immaculate Conception, alongside the community centre, to respect the original burial rites.

The new community building, which is to be named the John Paul II Centre, is being built as part of the NW Bicester eco development.
Anglo-Saxon 7th Century plough coulter found in Kent

Archaeologists at work The coulter was discovered in Lyminge, Kent

An archaeological discovery by the University of Reading is set to shed new light on the history of farming.

Dr Gabor Thomas and his team have found a 7th Century iron plough coulter during excavations at Lyminge, Kent.

A coulter is a vertical soil slicer mounted like a knife to cut through the soil ahead of a plough share to improve the plough's efficiency.

The coulter, one of the defining features of a 'heavy plough', transformed the landscape of England.
Anglo-Saxon monastery

Unlike the small fields associated with earlier light ploughs they cultivated the land in long narrow strips making the large open fields which would become a standard feature of the medieval countryside.

Previously it was believed heavy ploughs were introduced to Anglo-Saxon England in the late 10th Century or 11th Century, on the basis of representations in manuscripts of this period.

However, the Lyminge coulter can be firmly dated to the 7th Century.
A coulter A coulter cuts through the soil ahead of a plough share to increase efficiency

Compared to light ploughs, heavy ploughs, pulled by teams of eight oxen, were high-tech and fast.

They permitted the cultivation of heavier soils, especially in areas of poor drainage, by creating a deep furrow characteristically known as 'ridge and furrow'.

Dr Thomas, from the University of Reading's department of archaeology, said: "The coulter was discovered at the base of a structure known as a sunken featured building.

"It looks to have been carefully placed at the bottom of the pit on the building's abandonment, perhaps as a ritual offering with symbolic connotations."

Dr Thomas said the discovery of the Lyminge coulter was significant, as it enabled Anglo-Saxon landowners to maximise profits from their estates and increase productivity.
Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote

This is the object I have been waiting for all my life”

End Quote Dr Peter Fowler Leading Anglo-Saxon archaeologist

"This 7th-century wealth may have been invested in the establishment of England's earliest Christian monasteries as represented at Lyminge," he said.

Peter Fowler, a leading Anglo-Saxon archaeologist and former professor of archaeology at Newcastle University, said the find was of "huge significance".

"This is the object I have been waiting for all my life," Professor Fowler said.

"It was known in Roman Britain but apparently then forgotten, and with a lack of evidence we believed that such a plough was unknown in England before the Late Saxon period."

The 2010 excavation forms part of research in which archaeologists have been unearthing the remains of an Anglo-Saxon monastery preserved under the inhabited core of the village in Lyminge.

The excavations are being funded by the British Academy, Society of the Antiquaries and the Royal Archaeological Institute.

The coulter is currently undergoing analytical conservation by a team at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL.
Colchester dig uncovers 'spearmen' skeletons

Click to play

The teeth of the tribal warriors will be tested to find out how old they are

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The bones of two Anglo-Saxon soldiers have been discovered beneath former Army barracks in Colchester.

They may have lived and fought in the 5th or 6th Century AD, Colchester Archaeological Trust said.

The bodies had shields on their chests, spears to one side and one had a dagger in a belt around his waist.

The skeletons were found beneath Hyderbad and Meanee Barracks, once home to 3rd Battalion Parachute Regiment, which are being redeveloped as housing.

"There is a strong probability these were post Roman 'spearmen', with Germanic or Saxon origin," said Trust director Philip Crummy.
'Local militia'

"But there is a tantalising possibility they were 4th or early 5th Century, in which case they could have been part of a militia living here in Roman times."

Achaeologists have already found Anglo-Saxon burials south of the nearby site of a former Roman circus.

These were from the 4th Century and featured small ring-shaped ditches with a single burial inside.

The latest discoveries also featured ring ditches, suggesting the spearmen may have been descended from that group.

"Many men from the continent were hired by the Romans and posted at frontier towns and cities like Colchester to act as soldiers," said Mr Crummy.

"Some then turned on their masters and paved the way for the conquest of much of eastern Britain by their own kind."

Colchester Archaeological Trust has been working at the Hyderbad site since 2002, on behalf of developer Taylor Wimpey.

The highlight of its excavation was the 2005 discovery of a Roman chariot circus in the gardens of the sergeants' mess.

It will carry out more work including DNA tests later this year in an attempt to discover exactly when the newly-discovered warriors lived.
Staffordshire Hoard 'to help rewrite history'
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-st ... e-13991723

The hoard could provide an early glimpse of Mercia's conversion

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A haul of Anglo-Saxon gold discovered beneath a Staffordshire farmer's field could help rewrite history, experts say.

Historians believe the Staffordshire Hoard could hold vital clues to explain the conversion of Mercia - England's last great pagan kingdom - to Christianity in the 7th Century.

The hoard was found buried on a farm in Staffordshire in July 2009.

The 1,500 pieces of gold are thought to be the spoils of an Anglo-Saxon battle.

'Warring kingdoms'
TV historian Dan Snow believes the find has the potential to rewrite the history books.

Speaking on BBC1's The Staffordshire Hoard, he said the conversion of Mercia "marked the beginning of a new era in English history".

"The Staffordshire Hoard is helping shine a light on exactly how and when the transformation occurred," he explained.

Historian David Starkey said: "England, remember, isn't England at all; England has yet to be invented - the word barely exists.

"Instead, there were these rival warring Anglo-Saxon kingdoms that behaved like the worst kind of takeover bidders of the city.

Continue reading the main story
The site was excavated by Birmingham Archaeology between July 24 and August 21, 2009
The vast majority of items in the hoard are martial - war gear, especially sword fittings
There is nothing feminine - no dress fittings, brooches or pendants, the gold objects most commonly found from the Anglo-Saxon era
The objects display three kinds of decoration - cut and mounted garnets, gold filigree and animal patterns
The hoard is thought to have been war bounty, seized from vanquished enemies by the victorious
"They decapitated each other - literally, not metaphorically.

"It's gang warfare, when you take over the territory of a rival gang, the lot get bumped off."

Mercia was one of Britain's largest and most aggressive kingdoms, stretching from Humber to London.

The pagan kings of Mercia resisted conversion to Christianity until it became surrounded by Christian states late in the 7th Century.

Historians believe the hoard could give the last glimpse of Paganism and the first of Christianity.

The largest-ever haul of Anglo-Saxon gold found in Britain, the Staffordshire Hoard was discovered buried beneath a farmer's field near Brownhills by amateur metal detector enthusiast Terry Herbert.

The hoard comprises more than 1,500 items, made of gold and silver, embedded with precious stones and jewels and was valued at nearly £3.3m.

After the Staffordshire Coroner ruled in September 2009 that the find was the "property of the Crown", arrangements were made for the valuation.

The money was split between Mr Herbert, and Fred Johnson, who owns the farm where it was discovered.

More than 40 items from the Staffordshire Hoard are on display in this summer's Tour 2011 across the West Midlands.
'Saxon' skeletons at Southampton building site

The skeletons were unearthed in St Mary Street

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Archaeologists are studying nine skeletons discovered at a housing development site in Southampton.

The remains, believed to date to Saxon times, were unearthed in St Mary Street where Hyde Housing is building 13 affordable homes and a shop.

Excavations from May to August also unearthed a belt buckle, post holes and a ring ditch, indicating that there was a dwelling on the site.

Two of the skeletons were discovered in a double grave.

Andy Russell, of Southampton City Council, said the two people buried there may have died of disease.

He said: "It might be that some hideous disease came through Southampton at that time.

"We are having the bones looked at but things like plague and cholera won't show up on the bones."

The site is thought to have been the first cemetery of the old Saxon town of Hamwick, which occupied a site between 650 AD to 900 AD larger than the walled medieval city.

Samples of bone are to be sent for radio carbon dating to find out the age of the remains.
Hmmm, while I'm with the church regarding the reburials maybe these people worshipped Wotan.

Bicester Anglo-Saxon skeletons re-interred
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-ox ... e-15228557

The remains were all buried in one wicker coffin

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Fifteen Anglo-Saxon skeletons unearthed in Oxfordshire last year have been re-interred in a church memorial garden.

A requiem mass was held on Saturday before a wicker coffin containing all the remains was buried at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Bicester.

The Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, whose diocese covers Bicester, led the Roman Catholic ceremony.

The burial led to a disagreement with the church and local archaeologists, who wanted the bones put in a museum.

The remains date from AD640 to 685

The skeletons, exhumed from what is thought to be an old Christian burial ground, were reinterred to respect the original burial rites.

James Lewis of Thames Valley Archaeological Services said: "As archaeologists we'd much rather they had gone into a museum, which would be available for future analysis.

"There are other ways of showing respect other than reburying."

The archaeologists' case went to the Ministry Of Justice but it was ruled the bones were not of national significance and so could be buried.

Speaking after the ceremony the Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, William Kenney, said of the Anglo-Saxon deceased: "These are the remains they have left on earth and they should be treated with dignity."

The remains inside the coffin have been buried in plastic bags in case archaeologists need access to them in future.

The skeletons are largely female and over the age of 35, with the remains of just one male discovered.

Isotope analysis revealed they were originally from the UK and had a lot of fish in their diet.