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Video shows Anglo-Saxon swords and shields among ‘amazing’ FIFTH CENTURY finds at Wendover

Archaeologists have identified Dark Age features during their exploration of a burial site on the HS2 road.

In addition to swords, shields and spears, 1,500-year-old hygiene kits containing earwax removers and tweezers were recovered.

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HS2 archaeologists unearth secrets of ancient Roman town near Aylesbury

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These rare finds are featured on Dan Snow’s History Hit podcast which is available now.

In total, archaeologists inspected 138 graves, saying three-quarters of them contained high-quality grave goods.

This suggests that the resting place was reserved for wealthy people who died in the 5th and 6th centuries.

Dan Snow

There are gaps in the historical and archaeological record of this period, which means that these finds can contribute significantly to understanding the lives of people in Anglo-Saxon Britain.

The objects found will allow experts to learn more about what culture and society was like during the Anglo-Saxon era.

About 30 archaeologists were working on the site, from INFRA JV, on behalf of the contractor Fusion JV.

Previously, their fieldwork revealed finds from the Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Roman times.

Anglo-Saxon Skeletons at Wendover

Along with the 138 graves, 41 burial graves and five cremation graves have been discovered, HS2 believe this is one of the largest Anglo-Saxon cemeteries found in the UK.

Dan Snow said: “Fifteen thousand years ago people in Britain stopped writing things.

“Traditionally, this period has been dismissed as a dark age.

“But archeology has filled in the gaps.

Great Anglo-Saxon iron sword discovered in HS2 archaeological dig at Wendover

“By studying the things our ancestors left in the ground, their glass, their jewelry, their weapons, and even their bodies, we can build a rich picture of a dynamic and vital time in our history.

“This amazing series of discoveries on the HS2 road can tell us more about how our predecessors lived, fought and ultimately died.

“It is one of the best and most revealing post-Roman sites in the country and it was exciting to join the team as they learned about their wonderful finds.”

A spokesperson for HS2 said: ‘Many burials have been found with two brooches on the collarbone, indicating that they would have held clothing such as a cape or a peplos – a long garment worn by women with brooches of shoulder.

“Brooches vary in style – some were gilt disc brooches or silver coin brooches.

“A pair of small square-headed brooches have been discovered – a miniature form of the large square-headed brooch, like the famous Chessell Down brooch on display at the British Museum.

“Some of the items discovered may have been imported from all over Europe, such as amber beads and various metals and raw materials used to make the artifacts.

“Two conical glass goblets were discovered intact, which are similar to vessels made in northern France, although they also made them in England at the time.

“The goblets, which would have been used to drink liquids such as wine, may suggest that people there had access to fine drinks from abroad.

“The vessels have decorative streaks in the glass and are comparable to the conical ‘Kempston’ type beaker, discovered in Bedfordshire in 1891, one of which is currently on display in the British Museum.

“One individual, a woman, was discovered with a vast array of possessions, the quality of which suggests she had high status among the population buried at the site.

“She was buried with a complete ornate glass bowl of pale green glass, thought to have been made around the turn of the 5th century, so could have been an heirloom from Roman times.

“Other grave goods included several copper alloy rings, a silver ‘zoomorph’ ring, brooches, discs, iron belt fittings and ivory items.”

Speaking of the excavations, Mike Court, Chief Archaeologist at HS2 Ltd, said: “While we are nearing the end of our HS2 Phase 1 archaeological fieldwork, we are only at the start of our understanding of how discoveries will improve our history. knowledge of Britain.

“The archaeological finds made at this site in Wendover will not only be of interest to the local community, but are of national significance, providing valuable insight into life in Anglo-Saxon Britain.”

A total of 2,000 beads were recovered during the excavations, along with 89 brooches, 40 buckles, 51 knives, 15 spearheads and seven shields.

Dr Rachel Wood, Chief Archaeologist at Fusion JV, added: “The significance of this site to our historical and archaeological understanding of Anglo-Saxon Britain is enormous.

“This is not a site I would have ever imagined finding – to have found one of these burials would have been amazing, so to have found so many is quite incredible.

“The proximity of the date of this cemetery to the end of the Roman period is particularly interesting, especially since it is a relatively unknown period. Material objects will tell us so much about the people who lived during this time, as will the people themselves.

Archaeologists have noted how the belongings at each burial seemed to be tailored to each individual, suggesting that the items would have had some relevance and significance to the deceased and mourners at the grave.

A number of toiletries were discovered, such as toiletry bags consisting of earwax removers and toothpicks, tweezers, combs and even a cosmetic tube which may have contained a substance used as eyeliner or the like.

A single burial has been found with a sharp iron object embedded in the individual’s spine, possibly providing insight into the cause of death.

The skeleton, believed to be a male aged between 17 and 24 at the time of death, was examined by specialist osteologists who believe the weapon was thrown from the front before embedding in the spine vertebral.