An early medieval women’s burial site is the most significant archaeological site ever discovered in England

Archaeologists don’t often jump with excitement, but they could hardly contain themselves as the Museum of London’s archeology team revealed an “astounding” discovery on the final day of an otherwise uneventful spring dig on Tuesday.

Excavation leader Levente Bence Balázs said, almost jumping for joy: “This is the most important early medieval female burial discovered in Britain.” “Finding something like this is an archaeologist’s dream.”

“When I saw the teeth, I was looking through a suspicious dumpster,” Balazs added, his voice cracking at the memory. “Then two golden objects appeared from the ground and flashed at me. These artifacts haven’t seen the light of day for 1,300 years, and being the first person to see them is indescribable. But even then, we did not know how special this discovery would be.”

What Balazs found was a woman buried between 630 and 670 AD—a woman buried in a bed next to an extraordinary, 30-piece necklace of intricately worked gold, garnets, and semi-precious stones. It is, by a country mile, the richest necklace ever discovered in Britain and reveals unparalleled craftsmanship during the early medieval period.

Also buried with the woman was a large, exquisitely decorated, face-down cross, another unique and mysterious feature of the tomb’s mysteries, featuring a highly unusual depiction of a human face in fine silver with blue glass eyes. Buried next to it were two vessels, which are also unique in that they contain a mysterious residue that has yet to be analyzed.

“This is a discovery of international importance. This discovery changed the course of history, and the impact will only get stronger as we delve deeper into this discovery,” said Balazs. “These mysterious discoveries raise more questions than they answer. There’s still a lot to learn about what we found and what it means.”

In April, many things about the excavation were unfavorable. The small, isolated Northamptonshire village of Harpole, whose name means ‘dirty pool’, was previously known only for its grounds. annual scarecrow festival and its proximity One of the worst motorway service stations in the UK🇧🇷

There were no ancient churches near the excavation or other burial sites. But thanks to experience developer funded archaeology, Vistry Group home builders have searched the area they are building on.

“I’ve worked for Vistry for 19 years, so I’ve had a lot of contact with archaeologists,” said Daniel Oliver, Vistry’s regional technical director. “I’m used to Simon [Mortimer, archaeology consultant for the RPS group] He calls me with great excitement about broken dishes. Beside him, Mortimer stiffens in protest, and Oliver quickly adds, “Crockery is very exciting, of course.”

“On the day the team discovered the Harpole treasure, I got five missed calls from Simon on my phone,” Oliver said. “That’s when I knew it was more than broken dishes. It’s as exciting as a broken pot.”

The woman—and it is a woman, though only the crowns of her teeth remain—was almost certainly an early Christian leader of considerable personal wealth, perhaps both abbess and princess. Lyn Blackmore, from the Museum of London’s archeology team, said: “Women were buried next to swords, but men were not found buried next to necklaces.” Experts agree that she was one of the first women to reach a high position in the church in Britain.

He was clearly religious, and his tomb is evidence of a time when paganism and Christian beliefs were still in flux. “It’s an amazing burial of combined iconography: the burial bling has a distinctly pagan flavor, but the tomb is also very much tied to Christian iconography,” Mortimer said.

The vestry has renounced its rights over the treasury, which now belongs to the state. The team hopes to display it locally once the conservation work is complete — a painstaking effort that will take at least two years.

Oliver is furious about where the real dig site is. It’s not built on, but it’s also not mentioned. “We don’t want people coming in with metal detectors,” he said. “That would be a bit much.”

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