Kirkleatham Museum to display jewels from Cleveland grave of Anglo-Saxon princess

By Culture24 Staff | 21 September 2009
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A picture of gold jewellery

Jewels from the grave of an Anglo-Saxon Princess (above) will form a focal point for a new gallery, touring exhibition and education programme after the Heritage Lottery Fund granted Redcar and Cleveland Council almost £275,000 in funding

An "unparalleled" hoard of gold jewellery found next to the body of an Anglo-Saxon princess in a secret Teesside Royal burial field will be revealed to the public with a £275,000 Lottery-funded display.

The precious haul of fine pieces were placed in the grave on a decorated wooden bed in the second half of the seventh century, and are thought to have belonged to members of the Northumbrian royal family.

A picture of a woman looking over various items of jewellery

Experts from The British Museum have been casting amorous gazes over the extremely rare collection

It will go on show at The Kirkleatham Museum in Redcar, alongside a new Anglo-Saxon gallery including a reconstruction of the burial, a touring exhibition and learning programmes.

"This is the only discovery of this kind and of this calibre in the North East and it is really important that we keep the pieces here for local residents and visitors to come and admire," said Ivor Crowther, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in the North-East.

"These rare finds are a spectacular insight into the lives of the people who lived in the region long ago. The jewellery will provide an excellent learning tool and thrilling museum exhibition."

A picture of a glove holding up a gold pendant with intricate patterns in it

One of the finds was a gold pendant with four circular garnet settings radiating from the centre

Alan Pearce, Museums Curator for Kirkleatham Museum, said he was "absolutely delighted" with the cash award.

"It recognises the quality of the objects and the unique story of a princess and her royal bed burial in East Cleveland," he added, announcing plans to open the exhibition by Easter 2011.

"We can now conserve and research the jewels and create a stunning exhibition to enable everyone to appreciate and get close to them."

A picture of a glove holding up a gold and dark patterned piece of jewellery

Five "high-status" female graves and one sword burial lie in the Street House cemetery, located in farmland in East Cleveland

Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism Councillor Sheelagh Clarke praised the HLF for helping the Council to create "a really exhilarating attraction."

"I know they are as excited as we are about these finds," she said. "It just shows what a rich and varied cultural heritage we have in East Cleveland."

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned: