An Anglo-Saxon girl’s box of trinkets is thought to have been uncovered by archaeologists during a three-week dig in Suffolk.
The excavation of a graveyard, dating from about AD650, has been completed at Barber’s Point on the River Alde.
Eight more skeletons have been found in graves alongside seven others which were uncovered during previous digs.
The box of ‘keepsakes’ included a bracelet, a brooch and a duck egg* which is almost completely intact [and a spindle whorl].
The graveyard, near Aldeburgh, is believed to be one of the earliest examples of a Christian, rather than Pagan, burial site in East Anglia.
Other graves were found without skeletons, which are believed to have decayed in the acidic soil.
Jezz Meredith, from Suffolk County Council’s Archaeological Service, said: “The group of items found around the egg* are likely to be keepsakes or mementos placed at the feet of this young adult female.
“[It’s] very different from the sorts of things placed with the dead in the earlier Pagan period. ”
“Before the Christian era, males were buried with weapons and females with their finery – so they were equipped and armed for the next world.”
The service has been working alongside the Aldeburgh & District Local History Society (ADLHS) using Heritage Lottery Fund money.
Tony Bone, chairman of ADLHS, said: “We’ve done four digs here from 2004-2010 and it’s great we’ve come to a conclusion.
“It’s exceeded our expectations and we look forward to the deliberations of the county team to tell us more about these finds.”
The dig also uncovered a dolphin ornament dating from Roman occupation of the site. [Also, some Samian ware and a Roman Coin of Emperor Domitian (AD 81 to AD 96)]
* The ‘egg’ once properly excavated (it was block lifted) turned out to be a rare, imported cowrie shell with a small piece of Roman glass in the opening.