The Biggest Anglo-Saxon Cemetery In Northamptonshire Was Found

The Biggest Anglo-Saxon Cemetery In Northamptonshire Was Found

A substantial Anglo-Saxon graveyard was recently found in Overstone in Northamptonshire. It is the biggest this era burial site yet discovered in the county, with 154 interments.

Barratt and David Wilson Homes hired Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) to excavate the 15-ha property in preparation for 2019. RPS Consulting served as the project manager. A total of around 3,000 burial items were gathered, and each one represented the status of the people interred there. This investigation showed that graves came with a variety of grave items.

Jewelry, including roughly 150 brooches, 15 rings, 75 wrist clasps, 15 chatelaines, and more than 2,000 beads, was one of the most often found items. The discovery of 25 spears, 40 knives, and 15 shield bosses showed that many of the survivors were armed. In addition to the remarkable textile fragments that have survived due to their placement next to metal objects, which allowed them to mineralize, there were also everyday artifacts like bone combs and cosmetic kits that provided details on the daily lives of the early medieval population.

Anglo-Saxon artifact Northamptonshire
This bone comb, which dates to about AD 500 and 600 and was likely employed as a weaving tool, was found inside one of the Anglo-Saxon buildings that were recently excavated at Overstone alongside a sizable cemetery.

The Overstone site also had a group of 22 structures (a mix of post-built and sunken-feature houses), as well as an additional 20 structures that were discovered dispersed throughout the site and connected to field systems. An Anglo-Saxon graveyard and settlement are not frequently found together in a single excavation.

Along with the Anglo-Saxon artifacts, a number of prehistoric features were also found, including three Bronze Age round barrows and 46 prehistoric burials, the oldest of which radiocarbon study determined to date to about 2000-1900 BC.

According to Simon Markus, project manager at MOLA, the Overstone Leys site contains by far the largest Anglo-Saxon cemetery ever found in Northamptonshire. We can better understand how people lived during the Bronze Age, which lasted for over 4,000 years, and the Anglo-Saxon era, which lasted for almost 1,500 years. The human remains will reveal details about the peoples’ food, health, and even ancestry while the structures can reveal information about daily life and how they used the local environment in these two different eras.

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