Archaeologists say Anglo-Saxon sword discovery "couldn't have been better scripted"

By Ben Miller | 05 August 2014

X-rays will be carried out on an Anglo-Saxon sword found alongside beads, bodies and more in neolithic Wiltshire

A photo of a colourful circular bead being held within a palm
A good year for beads on Barrow Clump© Wessex Archaeology
Archaeologists have praised the timing and good fortune of a barrow dig on Salisbury Plain which has culminated in the discovery of 13 Anglo-Saxon graves, adding to around 62 already found at the site during previous excavations.

A surprising Anglo-Saxon burial, found in a crouched position, a range of weapons, including spearheads and shield bosses, and the fourth example of a brooch-bearing woman were among the highlights during five weeks of investigations at Barrow Clump, a Neolithic settlement which later became a Bronze Age burial mound and Saxon cemetery,

A photo of a long dark brown Anglo-Saxon sword recovered from a burial clump
Archaeologists were excited to unwrap the sword© Wessex Archaeology
“The finding of the Anglo-Saxon sword, by Steve Winterton, couldn’t have been better scripted,” said Phil Andrews, of Wessex Archaeology, who admitted that this year’s excavations had exceeded his “relatively modest” expectations.

“Perhaps my most satisfying moment was the discovery of Lieutenant Colonel Hawley’s late 19th century excavation trench – something we had failed to find in previous seasons.

"Having a cherry-picker on site on Thursday gave us a chance to see the results of our work from above.

"The final burial was lifted on Friday and all recording completed. The last people left site on Saturday and by the end of Tuesday the excavation trenches had been backfilled and we said our farewells to Barrow Clump.

“It proved to be a very good year for beads, particularly glass, with a range of shapes, sizes and colours found with three of the female burials.

“Barrow Clump has always come up with pleasant surprises, and it is without doubt a site to remember for all the right reasons.”
Processing and post-excavation work will continue for the rest of the year, including x-rays of the sword.

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