More Anglo-Saxons - including a warrior and a high-status woman - have been found by archaeologists in Wiltshire

By Culture24 Reporter | 10 May 2016

A six-foot warrior and a high-status woman were part of an Anglo-Saxon cemetery excavated in south-east Wiltshire

A photo of an Anglo-Saxon warrior skeleton found at a Ministry of Defence site in Tidworth
The warrior skeleton found by archaeologists at a site in south-east Wiltshire© Images reproduced with permission © Wessex Archaeology
Last month, archaeologists found an Anglo-Saxon cemetery, Neolithic monuments and spears, knives and bone combs at a proposed Ministry of Defence housing site on Salisbury Plain. In the nearby garrison town of Tidworth, they’ve now excavated a 1,300-year-old cemetery of 55 burials from between the late 7th and early 8th centuries, containing the remains of men, women and children representing a cross-section of a local community.

A photo of an Anglo-Saxon warrior skeleton found at a Ministry of Defence site in Tidworth
Military veterans from Tedworth House were shown around the Anglo-Saxon cemetery© Images reproduced with permission © Wessex Archaeology
“The mid-Saxon cemetery is of particular importance in its own right,” says Bruce Eaton, the Project Manager for Wessex Archaeology, surveying one grave confining a six-foot tall warrior with an “unusually large” spearhead and conical shield boss. “But taken together with the excavation of the cemetery on MOD land at Bulford, which was of a similar date, we now have the opportunity to compare and contrast the burial practices of two communities living only a few miles apart. They would almost certainly have known each other.”

A photo of an Anglo-Saxon comb found at a Ministry of Defence site in Tidworth
A bone comb© Images reproduced with permission © Wessex Archaeology
Nearly all of the burials contained grave goods, from iron knives and bone pins to beads, coins pierced for necklaces and combs. One of the women had a burial bounty of bronze jewellery, beads, a bone comb, a chatelaine and a finely decorated bronze workbox, suggesting her importance within a household and community.

A photo of Anglo-Saxon jewellery found at a Ministry of Defence site in Tidworth
Beads from the site© Images reproduced with permission © Wessex Archaeology
The archaeology team says the excavation could push the history of the town back 300 years before the earliest documentary evidence of the Saxon settlement, in 975 AD.

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A photo of Anglo-Saxon swords found at a Ministry of Defence site in Tidworth
Spears and a boss© Images reproduced with permission © Wessex Archaeology
Three places to see the archaeology of Wiltshire in

Athelstan Museum, Malmesbury
This small local museum has an interesting tale to tell, full of lots of fascinating people: Athelstan, first king of all England; Eilmer, a flying monk of 1,000 years ago; Thomas Hobbes, the famous philosopher; Walter Powell, the MP who vanished at sea in a hot air balloon - and lots more. Artefacts on display include bicycles, a Roman coffin, wonderful pictures of the area and the renowned Malmesbury lace collection.

Avebury Stone Circle, near Marlborough
One of the most important megalithic monuments in Europe and spread over a vast area, much of which is under Trust protection, the great stone circle, encompassing part of the village of Avebury, is enclosed by a ditch and external bank and approached by an avenue of stones. Many of the stones were re-erected in the 1930s by the archaeologist Alexander Keiller.

Wiltshire Museum
The Wiltshire Museum has one of the best Bronze Age collections in Britain. The collections in the museum, together with its Library and Archive, are Designated Collections of national significance. Founded over 150 years ago, it preserves the rich archaeological and historical treasures and records of Wiltshire, including the World Heritage Site of Avebury and Stonehenge.
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