Anglo-Saxon Pendant, Exning

photograph of gold pendant and bead

An Anglo-Saxon gold and garnet necklace from Grave 8 in a cemetery excavated at Exning.

The surviving components of this necklace were a gold bead and a red garnet set into a gold pendant. Necklaces such as these are usually found in the graves of elite status women; this particular necklace was buried with a 10-12 years old child (assumed female by her associated grave goods).

black and white drawing of the pendant and bead front, side and back view
Illustration of pendant and bead, by Donna Wreathall (© SCCAS)

It is certain that this child had very high status, even elite links, despite her young age. She had been buried within a coffin like structure and laden with many other grave goods, in fact the more than anyone else in the cemetery. These finds included, but were not limited to: a Roman coin, beads, a ceramic gaming piece, a dog tooth, a cowrie shell, an iron wool comb, pin beaters and a glass palm cup. Many of these items also reflect a high-status position, not only of the young individual but of her family. Some of these items may also represent the future status she would have held within her society.

The ‘From the Vaults’ series is written by the County Council’s Archaeological Archives Officer

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