Shield-wearing skeleton, necklace and grave goods found in early Saxon inhumations

By Ben Miller | 24 February 2014

The discovery of nine bodies in Cambridgeshire could reveal much about the little-known early Saxon period

A photo of a skeleton buried in a muddy pit
© Courtesy Pre-Construct Archaeology
An early Saxon man who fell on his shield has been found buried with a knife and spear alongside a jewellery-clad woman during a dig on a residential site in a Cambridgeshire village.

A photo of skeletal remains inside a pit
The discoveries follow the excavation of 11 skeletons in the village in 1990© Courtesy Pre-Construct Archaeology
Grave goods, weaponry and everyday items from the 6th century surfaced during the excavation in Haddenham, where similar remains – including a double burial of a man and a woman – were first identified more than 20 years ago.

“A total of nine inhumations were discovered, ranging from the very young to fully grown adults,” says Jon House, of Pre-Construct Archaeology, thanking local residents for their “great interest” and “warm and welcoming” approach to the team during unfavourable weather conditions.

“The burials included an adult male, found lying upon a decorative shield and with a knife and a spear.

“A beaded necklace was found around the neck and upper torso of an adult female, who was also buried with a belt or girdle with copper and iron fittings.

“Projects such as these prove how even the smallest developments can yield a wealth of archaeological information and, in the case of this particular site, details not only of how people lived but also of their treatment towards the dead over 1,400 years ago.

“This is especially important during those periods, such as the early Saxon era, which have left little or no historical data.”

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

A photo of a skull in a pit
© Courtesy Pre-Construct Archaeology
A photo of an archaeologist attending to a section of a brown mud pit
© Courtesy Pre-Construct Archaeology
A photo of an archaeologist attending to skeletons in a brown mud pit
© Courtesy Pre-Construct Archaeology
A photo of a skeleton inside a pit
© Courtesy Pre-Construct Archaeology
A photo of a female archaeologist in a green jacket working on a brown mud site
© Courtesy Pre-Construct Archaeology
A photo of skeletal remains on brown earth
© Courtesy Pre-Construct Archaeology
A photo of archaeologists in green jackets working on a brown pit
© Courtesy Pre-Construct Archaeology
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Sachsen var placeret lige syd for den Danske grænse på den tid, så det må vel være en vanskelig sag at bestemme skeleternes etniske tilhørsforhold. Sachsere, Angler, og Jyder drog, i forening til England omkring år 500 e.kr.
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