News of one of the country’s earliest Christian burials, just south of Cambridge, has been announced on the University of Cambridge website here. An unusual late 7th Century bed burial of a young woman was uncovered during the excavation of a Saxon settlement at Trumpington Meadows by Cambridge Archaeological Unit (CAU). Amongst other grave goods considered typically pagan for the time, the archaeologists were astonished to also discover a solid gold pectoral cross inlaid with garnets, as shown above.
This artefact has been the subject of further research by Dr Sam Lucy, alongside CAU Senior Manager Alison Dickens, and it is thought that this is a high status burial indicating the early adoption of Christianity by an aristocratic elite and perhaps the benefaction of one of the first monastic sites in East Anglia. Further investigation of the remains may reveal much more about the young woman’s life and plans are to analyse the stable isotopes and DNA of the human remains.