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Sarre Grave 6

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posted on 2021-11-10, 15:41 authored by Helena HamerowHelena Hamerow
VI. Near the feet, and about two feet three inches from the surface, was a small black earthen vessel; on the left side lay a broken umbo, and near it, all together, as if the contents of a bag or purse which had decayed, about fifty small circular counters of bone or ivory [KAS 393], one or two apparently made out of some animal's teeth. A sword [KAS 937], thirty-seven inches long; a spear-head, eight inches and a quarter, and its ferule; a small brass of Magnentius; some rivets, a knife, an iron ring, and a small bronze buckle, were also taken from this grave.Draughts or counters are of rare occurrence in Saxon graves. These vary a little in size and shape: all are circular and flat-bottomed, but some nearly conical, others but slightly convex. A pattern of little double circles, dotted in the centre, is on the upper side of most of them. Many had decayed into fragments, and the number of those found tolerably perfect being forty-five or fifty, I should judge the original quantity to have been probably about sixty.Mr. Bateman records a similar discovery in a barrow opened by Mr. Carrington, near a place called Cold Eaton, in Staffordshire, in the year 1845. Here, in a deposit placed in a circular hole about eighteen inches in diameter, were found 'a quantity of calcined bones, some fragments of iron, parts of two bone combs, and twenty-eight objects of bone, like button-moulds. The latter objects were flattened hemispherical pieces, mostly with dots on the convex sides; on some were dots within annulets. They varied from half an inch to an inch in diameter, and had generally eight, nine, or ten dots each.'[1] He thinks that they were probably used for a game of draughts, as draughtsmen have been found in Scandinavian tumuli, and assigns them to the Danes or the Saxons. Those which he describes, however, had all been burnt: with these at Sarr burial only has been used, and the accompanying relics are, it will be observed, of the same character as those of the neighbouring graves.[2][1] 'Ten Years' Diggings in Celtic and Saxon Grave Hills,' p. 181. – J.B.[2]In another grave, opened here in 1864, we found a second set of some forty of these counters. They were deposited in a hole to the right of the grave. Two dice were found with them. – J.B.


Grave title


Date excavated

between September and December 1863


Brent 1866

Page number


Sonia Hawkes description

a. small black earthenware vessel, b. broken umbo, c. about 50 small circular counters of bone or ivory, d. sword, e. spearhead with ferrule, f. brass of Magnentius, g. rivets, h. knife, i. iron ring, j. small bronze buckle.

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