Saxon find brings clues to history

A NUMBER of ancient artefacts discovered by a metal detecting enthusiast have given vital clues to Suffolk's history.Six gold and silver fragments discovered in a Witnesham field have given historians the chance to confirm details about life in Suffolk around 1,500 years ago.

A NUMBER of ancient artefacts discovered by a metal detecting enthusiast have given vital clues to Suffolk's history.

Six gold and silver fragments discovered in a Witnesham field have given historians the chance to confirm details about life in Suffolk around 1,500 years ago.

At a treasure trove inquest, Great Suffolk Coronor Dr Peter Dean confirmed the artefacts met the criteria for treasure.

A treasure trove inquest is held when an object of at least 300 years old containing a substantial amount of silver or gold is found and the owner cannot be traced.

Treasure inquests hear whether a museum is interested in buying the objects from the finder and whether they are important enough to be declared treasure. If so, the finder must then sell them to the interested museum.

The artefacts discovered in Witnesham in October date back to the sixth century and include fragments of two brooches, a wrist clasp, and a belt stud.

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John Newman, archaeology field officer with Suffolk County Council, told the inquest Ipswich Museum was interested in the fragments, which are currently at the British Museum where they will be valued.

Mr Newman said the pieces were from Anglo Saxon times when England was Pagan and people were buried wearing their finest things.

"This is a time when show and display of items was very important," he said.

"It shows we'd started contact between East Anglia and Kent."

Dr Dean ruled the items were treasure, meaning that once they have been valued Ipswich Museum must pay finder John McLoughlin and the artefacts will be passed on to the museum.

Speaking after the inquest, Mr Newman said the find meant historians could confirm links they believe existed between East Anglia and Kent.

"The brooches are particularly significant because it's the closest we've had from East Anglia that links with Kent, where more of these artefacts come from.

"Kent is where the early Scandinavian settlers came from."

Both East Anglia and Kent were important places during the sixth century, said Mr Newman.

"At that time England wasn't a kingdom, there were little kingdoms emerging. Kent was a strong one and so was East Anglia, and this is a strong indication of the links between the two.

He said the mixture of objects also indicated the area had a number of graves, both male and female.

"During the pagan period people were dressed in their best for their journey into the next world, which is a tradition which was lost over time.

"They are important archaeological items."

Factfile

Suffolk is the second busiest place in England for treasure trove discoveries. The county council deal with around 50 cases a year. The busiest place is Norfolk, where there are around 80 treasure finds a year.

Around 5,000 artefacts are found in Suffolk each year, ranging from pottery to flint, bronze, and copper alloy.

In 1939, the largest Anglo Saxon ship ever discovered was found at Sutton Hoo, near Woodbridge. The ship had been used as a burial tomb and a large number of coins, weapons and ornaments were found inside. The find was extremely significant for historians and has helped inform large parts of what we know about that time in English history.

Anglo Saxon men would wear a robe or tunic gathered at the waist while women would wear floor length dresses. Both rich and poor people would use brooches to secure clothes.

Anglo Saxons would worship Gods of nature and would pray to a particular God for a good harvest, or success in battle.

The days Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are named after Anglo Saxon Gods - Tiw, Wodin, Thor and Friya.

Source: www.britainexpress.com

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