AN ANGLO-SAXON BRONZE AND AMBER FUNERARY GROUP FROM BENNETT'S HILL CEMETERY, OFFENHAM, WORCESTERSHIRE
AN ANGLO-SAXON BRONZE AND AMBER FUNERARY GROUP FROM BENNETT'S HILL CEMETERY, OFFENHAM, WORCESTERSHIRE

CIRCA 6TH CENTURY A.D.

Details
AN ANGLO-SAXON BRONZE AND AMBER FUNERARY GROUP FROM BENNETT'S HILL CEMETERY, OFFENHAM, WORCESTERSHIRE
CIRCA 6TH CENTURY A.D.
Including two burial groups of a warrior and a woman, together with related artefacts found nearby:
- a large gilded bronze florid cruciform brooch, with stylized animal head on the foot plate (repaired), with disc-headed pin (now separate), 6.5/8 in. (16.8 cm.) high
- a pair of gilded bronze saucer brooches, each with central boss and chip-carved circle of running scroll decoration, 16 in. (4 cm.) diam.
- five similar gilded bronze saucer brooches with chip-carved interwoven, zoomorphic or star-shaped decoration, 1¾ in. (4.5 cm.) diam. max.
- a large gilded bronze saucer brooch with chip-carved decoration, the outer border with punched circles and cross-hatched triangles, 26 in. (5.8 cm.) diam.
- three bronze discs each pierced with concentric circle decoration, and a long brooch with rectangular head plate, 1½ in. (3.8 cm.) diam. and 2¼ in. (5.8 cm.) high respectively
- a bronze girdle hanger and two rectangular attachments, 1½ in. (3.8 cm.) long and ¾ in. (2 cm.) long max. respectively
- an amber bead necklace with large disc and smaller barrel-shaped beads including two large rock crystal beads, restrung, 30 in. (76.2 cm.) long approx.
- two amber bead necklaces, with large disc-shaped and smaller barrel-shaped beads, restrung, 35 in. (89 cm.) long max.
- an amber bead bracelet with smaller glass spacer beads, restrung, 11 in. (28 cm.) long approx.
- two iron shield bosses, 7½ in. (19 cm.) diam. max.
- three iron spearheads, a knife and spear tip, 11½ in. (29.2 cm.) max., 6¼ in. (15.9 cm.) and 3¼ in. (8.3 cm.) long respectively

And a group of eleven bronze brooches and six rings, found in Worcestershire including:
- a 'Krftig Profilierte' brooch with knobbed foot and rod connecting the head and bow, pin intact, 1.7/8 in. (4.8 cm.) long; a Polden Hill type brooch with cylindrical wings, decorated with a sunken wavy line along the bow and at the wing terminals, pin missing, 2 in. (5.1 cm.) long; another brooch with cylindrical wings, with sloping ribs on each side of the bow, 1.3/8 in. (3.6 cm.) long, all 1st Century A.D.; a Knee brooch with rectangular section bow and splayed foot, the cylindrical wings with rectangular head plate, 2nd Century A.D., 1.3/8 in. (3.5 cm.) long; a European P-shaped brooch with arching bow, the backward returned foot with wire wrapped around the bow, first half of 3rd Century A.D., 2.3/8 in. (6.1 cm.) long; and a Crossbow brooch with three knobbed terminals, 3rd-4th Century A.D., 2½ in. (6.4 cm.) long, all pins intact; and five other bow brooches, 2.3/8 in. (6.1 cm.) long max.
- six bronze Anglo-Saxon, Medieval and later finger rings comprising a ring with bezel chased with 'S'-shaped scroll; another, the bezel with triple conjoined spirals, each terminating in a cross, the bezel sides with hatched chevrons and horizontal lines, wave pattern on the shoulder; three rings, each disc bezel chased with hatched, cross-hatched and zigzag decoration; and a 'gypsy' ring with central paste inlay surrounded by chased 'sunburst' rays, two flanking inlays missing, ¾ in. (2 cm.) max. across inner hoop(a lot)
Provenance
Anglo-Saxon funerary group: found at Bennett's Hill, Offenham, Worcestershire, November 1996.Separate group of brooches and rings: found Worcestershire, 1996-1997.

Lot Essay

PUBLISHED:
H. Dalwood and S. Ratkai, Salvage Recording at Bennett's Hill Anglo-Saxon Cemetery, Offenham: interim report, County Archaeological Service, Hereford and Worcester County Council, 18 February 1998 (a copy of the report accompanies this lot, together with documents and a video recording the find and excavation).

The previously unknown site of a pagan Anglo-Saxon cemetery was first discovered by the vendor in 1996 and was subsequently excavated and recorded by the Hereford and Worcester County Archaeological Service. The recovered artefacts are the grave goods from two main burials, one belonging to a warrior, the other of an adult woman. The group also includes similar artefacts from the immediate vicinity, as well as a group of brooches and rings from other areas in Worcestershire.

The grave of the warrior included one iron shield boss and a knife. The female was recorded as having the large florid cruciform brooch placed near her shoulder flanked by two saucer brooches with a star pattern, together with another saucer brooch with stylized zoomorphic design. She held a long amber and rock crystal bead necklace at her waist. The large florid cruciform brooch is of particular interest because of its exceptional size; it is part of only a small group of similar brooches, one of which is a florid brooch found at Stapleford Park, Saxby, Leicestershire in the 19th Century and now in the Leicester Museums and Art Gallery, cf. R. Jessup, Anglo-Saxon Jewellery, Aylesbury, 1974, pp. 65-6, pl. 11.

The late 5th/early 7th Century A.D. Bennett's Hill cemetery is the ninth pagan Anglo-Saxon cemetery to have been found in Worcestershire. It has been suggested that the area was populated by two separate groups during the 5th/early 7th century A.D., pagan Anglo-Saxons and Christian Britons.
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