Monday, 26 March 2012

Cambridge burial

The burial - Cambridge University Archaeology Unit.
A friend of mine gave me a cutting from the Times today reporting on a burial in Cambridgeshire. They described the burial of a teenager interred on a wooden bed and she was wearing a gold cross, with trumpet arms, set with garnets.  Alison Dickens (Cambs Uni. Arch.) is quoted as saying that: "We think there's only been one other bed burial combined with a Christian cross ever found... Bed burials are conspicuously rare". The Times states that: "What is unusual about the discovery... is the combination of 'bling' and bed".     

The burial is in that transitional period between a purely pagan society and the introduction of Christianity in the later 7th century and here the burial is dated to between 650 and 680 AD. 

This has certain parallels with the 'King of Bling' (600-650 AD) found at Prittlewell, Essex several years ago. Found during a road widening scheme it was described as "the most spectacular discovery of its kind made during the last 60 years". This was of a male buried under a mound in an underground, wood-lined chamber stuffed full of artefacts.

Two gold 'Latin' crosses were found with rounded terminals, the first such gold crosses to be unearthed in the UK. Such usage originated in Lombardy and was equally popular in Bavaria from the 6th to the early 8th centuries and most have tiny perforations so as to be allowed to be sewn onto clothes.

The 'King of Bling' was laid on a bed or in a coffin. The poor state of preservation did not allow a definite interpretation. But if it was a bed then the Cambridge burial is another example, of a predominantly female depositional type. 

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