News in The Guardian of a fascinating discovery:
“The dead are often described as sleeping, but archaeologists in Cambridgeshire have uncovered a bed on which the body of a young Anglo-Saxon woman has lain for more than 1,300 years, a regal gold and garnet cross on her breast.
Pectoral crosses from the dawn of Christianity in England, and bed burials – where the body was laid on a real bed, now traced only by its iron supports, centuries after the timber rotted – are both extremely rare.
A gold and garnet pectoral cross of such quality, the most beautiful and sophisticated examples of Anglo-Saxon metalwork like the contemporary jewels found in the Staffordshire Hoard or the Sutton Hoo burial, could only have been owned by a member of an aristocratic or even royal family. Only five have been found, one in the coffin of St Cuthbert. In some contemporary pieces the gems came from as far as India, and the gold from melted down coins from Constantinople.”
(Read more and see a short video at Cross and bed found in Anglo-Saxon grave shed new light on ‘dark ages’ | Science | The Guardian: .)