An early Anglo-Saxon burial site with a necklace consisting of gold and semiprecious stones dating back 1,300 years was discovered in central England. The Museum of London Archaeology describes the discovery as Britain’s most significant female pre-Christian burial site (MOLA). The gold necklace, which dates sometime between 630 and 670 AD, is described as a “once-in-a-lifetime discovery” by archaeologist Simon Mortimer. The jewellery that was found nearby Northampton includes a minimum of 30 pendants and beads composed of Roman coins, gold, garnets, semi-precious stones and glass. The necklace’s focal point is the large rectangular pendant with a cross design made up of gold and red garnets. This ornament is believed by experts to have originally been merely half of a hinged clasp.
The museum further states that the artefact was discovered at a gravesite near Northampton that was considered to belong to a high-status woman, possibly an aristocrat whose identity is not known. Two decorated pots and a shallow copper dish were also found from the burial. According to CNN, The necklace and other priceless items, known as the Harpole Treasure after a parish in Northamptonshire county where they were discovered in April, revealed a significant role held by a few women in Anglo-Saxon society in England.
The treasure was first discovered by MOLA site supervisor Levente-Bence Balázs, who went on to say, “In 17 years of excavating sites, this was the first time I’ve found gold. It’s not just the artefacts, it’s the sheer magnitude of the find.”
Lyn Blackmore, a senior finds specialist at MOLA, said at a news briefing that The Harpole Treasure is the richest bed burial in terms of investment of wealth rather than the number of objects since it has the most amount of gold and religious symbolism. Museum of London Archaeology officials estimated that it will take at least two years to investigate the artefacts and also expressed optimism that the Harpole Treasure could eventually be put on exhibit for the public.
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