Alcester Tau Cross-head

Relic on show in home county

AN ANCIENT religious cross has been returned to Warwickshire for the first time since it was discovered in the county more than a century ago.

The Alcester Tau Cross, which belongs to the British Museum, has gone on display at the Warwickshire Museum in Warwick.

It was unearthed in the garden of the rectory at Alcester and has been part of the collections of the British Museum since 1903.

The early piece of medieval art was carved from walrus tusk ivory in the early 11th century and would originally have been covered in gold foil and hung with precious stones or pearls.

It would have been carried on the top of a long staff or crozier and held by a high-ranking bishop during religious ceremonies

Alcester Tau cross head

Warwickshire Museum Warwickshire Museum Service

 Major archaeological find at Rotherwas

A MAJOR archaeological find of international significance has been discovered on the site of Hereford’s new relief road.

A ribbon of fire-cracked stones, which is thought to have been constructed around 2000 BC, has been uncovered close to the new Rotherwas access road.

The stones, which have been carefully laids to form a surface, date back to the same period as Stonehedge and are dated as being constructed during the early bronze age.

 Major Hereford archaeological find to be unveiled

A ribbon of fire-cracked stones carefully laid to form a surface and dating back to the same period as Stonehenge has been uncovered during the construction of a road in Herefordshire.

Archaeologists believe this major find may have no parallels in Europe, with the closest similar artefact being the 2,000-year-old serpent mounds of the Ohio river valley in America.

Dated as being constructed during the Early Bronze Age (2,000BC), it runs broadly at right angles (north to south) to the new Rotherwas access road, being constructed by Alfred McAlpine to the south of Hereford City and which prompted the archaeological dig which uncovered the find.

The “Rotherwas Ribbon” comprises a series of linked opposing curves created by laid surfaces of deliberately fire-cracked stones (stones which have shattered after being heated by fire then dropped into water) unearthed from a ridge half a kilometre away.

The ribbon-shaped feature is not flat, but is three dimensional as it appears to have been deliberately sculpted to undulate throughout the 60 metres of its length which have so far been uncovered.

Young archaeologists dig up a mystery

Pupils from Sir John Leman High School in Beccles and Kirkley Community High School in Lowestoft uncovered the ancient skull during a Higher Education Field Academy dig in the village of Chediston, near Halesworth. The dig was organised by Cambridge University archaeologist Carenza Lewis – well-known to television viewers from Channel 4’s Time Team.

Cambridge University experts believe that the body, the rest of which is likely to continue the east beyond the excavated area, belonged to an adult woman who lived in the village either in medieval or Anglo-Saxon times. But the site of the burial is mystifying, leading to questions about who she actually was.

In particular, the woman was buried outside the churchyard – although tantalisingly close to it. The burial spot body is just a stone’s throw from the graveyard of St Mary’s Church (itself an ancient site) and there have been no other human remains found so far in the immediate area.

“At the moment we don’t know why this woman was buried outside the graveyard. She may have committed some awful crime, or been thought not to be Christian”, Carenza said.

The dig, in the village of Chediston, was part of a series of higher education field academies run by Access Cambridge Archaeology.

The skeleton was found beyond the boundaries of an present churchyard, albeit still near the church, which is quite remarkable. It was buried about three feet deep and aligned east-west which suggests a characteristic Christian burial. However it is possible that prior to the Norman Conquest the margins of the graveyard were different.

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