Experts puzzle over amateur dig find

ARCHAEOLOGISTS are puzzled by an ancient and highly decorated metal object dating back to Saxon times which was found near Woodbridge.Metal detecting enthusiast Paul Berry, of Fairfield Crescent, Framlingham, came across the object, believed to be part of a buckle plate, while he was out with his detector in June last year.

ARCHAEOLOGISTS are puzzled by an ancient and highly decorated metal object dating back to Saxon times which was found near Woodbridge.

Metal detecting enthusiast Paul Berry, of Fairfield Crescent, Framlingham, came across the object, believed to be part of a buckle plate, while he was out with his detector in June last year.

Experts from Suffolk County Council's archaeology department and the British Museum agree that they know of no close parallels here to the find.

The copper alloy plate, which had a thin covering of silver, was decorated with abstract designs believed to date back to the late ninth century and thought to be French.

"It's very unusual," said Dr Helen Geake, finds recording officer with Suffolk County Council's archaeological service. "We didn't really know what to make of it."

She believes it would have belonged to someone who was well-to-do and could have been for a man or a horse.

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"What it shows you is that along with other things there is quite a lot of trade across the channel," she said.

Mr Berry hopes he may be able to find more of the object. If so, he would like to offer it to the British Museum.

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