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Sibertswold Downs Grave 172

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posted on 2021-11-10, 14:43 authored by Helena HamerowHelena Hamerow
The first tumulus was a small one; the grave was about three feet deep. The coffin was very thick and strengthened by eighteen pieces of iron, each having a strong rivet at each end, and three iron staples; the coffin had not passed the fire; the bones were pretty sound. Near the neck were four earthen disci, or quoits [M 6457, M 6459, M 6517, M 6518][1], as I have often before ventured to call them; four large beads, one of which is of jet [M 6520]; one white and flat, one inch and a quarter diameter; one blue, with yellow trail [M 6519]; one blue [M 6521]; twenty-three small beads; two amethysts [M 6622, M 6623]; a golden ornament for the neck, set with nine small garnets [M 6523]; another, being a kind of mosaic [M 6522], or chequer-work, with a border of small garnets set in gold[2]; two others, being also the same sort of chequer-work, set in gold [M 6524, M 6525]; they are both exactly alike; two others, being large oval stones of a fine deep red colour, set in gold [M 6529]; one of them has a griffin, passant, cut on it [M 6528]; two others, being amethysts set in gold [M 6526, M 6527]. These all have loops to them; as had also two small coins found with them; one of them is of gold [M 6530]; the other is of silver [gold] [M 6531]; they are both of them very fair, but I have not yet been able to find out to what nation they belong; the crosses on them sufficiently testify their having been struck by some Christian prince.[3] These, doubtlessly, were all of them strung together and worn as a necklace. With them was also an ivory pin [M 6553], with two small garnets in its flat head on either side. Near the hips were found a pair of iron shears, as before, and a piece of an iron instrument, as at No. 103. At the left knee was an urn of reddish, coarse, earth, capable of containing about two quarts; it was broken in getting out. Here were also many links of a small iron chain rusted together; and many nail-like pieces of iron. A woman's grave.[1]These are probably spindle whirls.- C.R.S.[2]Compare this beautiful jewel with the mosaic stud found by the Abbé Cochet in a Frankish cemetery in the valley of the Eaulne, engraved in the Collectanea Antiqua, vol. iii, pl. xxxv, and in La Normandie Souterraine, pl. xv, fig. 4. - C.R.S.[3]These coins are engraved, but not explained, in Douglas's Nenia Britannica, pl. xxii. In the Collectanea Antiqua (vol. i, pl. vi, figs. 7 and 8) they are etched and appropriated to Verdun and Marsal, in France. They may be thus described :-Plate II, fig. 1. Obv. VIRDVNOI FIT.Rev. SISELLENO. MON [etarius]\ \" 3. Obv.MARS[a]LLOVIICRev. TOTO MONETARIO [etarius]The presence of coins such as these in the Anglo-Saxon graves is of the first importance to the archaeologist as it tends by direct evidence to confirm conclusions deduced from indirect and often obscure testimony as to the date of the interments. These two gold coins belong to the Merovingian series of the fifth to the seventh century. Douglas records a perforated coin of Anthemius (A.D. 467 to A.D. 472) found in a tumulus on Chatham Lines. In Mr. Duane's sale was sold an onyx set in gold that accompanied a gold coin of the Emperor Avitus (A.D. 455) set in a rim and gold loop to hang it as a pendant. They were found in May 1758 in a barrow on Blood Moor Hill near Peakefield and Laystoff in Suffolk with a necklace of rough garnets. Nenia Britannica p. 8.- C.R.S."


Grave title


Date excavated

9th August, 1772


Faussett 1856

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Sonia Hawkes description

Sonia Hawkes Commentary Small tumulus; grave about 3 feet deep. Coffin very thick and strengthened by 18 pieces of iron, each with a strong rivet at each end; in addition three iron staples. Bones pretty sound.Objects near the neck: 4 earthen disci or quoits, 4 large beads, 23 small beads, 2 amethysts, pin set with garnets, and all the pendants. Pendants are: gold and garnet pendant, mosaic glass pendant, 2 lattaticed pendants (one lost), cabochon garnet pendant, garnet intaligo pendant, and 2 looped gold coins.Near the hips were the iron shears and iron key. Near the left knee were the reddish earthware urn, links of iron chain and many nail-like fragments of iron.

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