Builders in Cambridge were in for a surprise when they discovered highly significant Anglo-Saxon remains on a new housing development. A range of treasures, including vases, jewellery and pots from early English nobles were found, which date as far back as 501 AD.

The findings give an insight into how people lived in the Ango-Saxon period, including their trade activities and behaviours. The site lies on the western edge of the Middle Saxon settlement around the Cherry Hinton area of Cambridge.
Cambridge UK archaeology

A range of treasures, including vases, jewellery and pots from early English nobles were discovered, which date as far back as 501 AD
Findings include precious jewellery such as fine brooches, multi-coloured glass and amber beads, rings and hairpins dating back to the sixth century AD, as well as remnants of an original village-style settlement. Complete pottery vessels were also found on the land, earmarked for 60 homes, including a stunning rare glass claw beaker.

These elaborate drinking vessels are normally found further south in Kent, northern France, the Netherlands and Germany, where they were produced.

Additional images

Utilitarian tools such as small knives and weaponry were also among the findings on the site which provides a fascinating insight into the lifestyle and clothing of the ancient Anglo-Saxon era.

Duncan Hawkins, Head of Archaeology and Build Heritage for CgMs which helped unearth the treasures, said: 'Evidence of the time period 5th to 7th century AD is almost non-existent.

'This gives us a highly important window into understanding how people lived in that era, their trade activities and behaviours.

'The academic value of this collection is therefore immeasurable.

'The site fell out of use in the seventh century but we discovered evidence of eighth century Middle Saxon activity including post-built structures, possibly workshops and livestock pens.

'Pits dug in this attest to local industrial activity and further processing of soil samples should help us understand what these were used for.'

The excavation even turned up some Roman treasures, pre-dating the Anglo-Saxon era, including plates and a complex of Late Iron Age and Roman ditches defining a field system and an early Roman Pottery Kiln.

When the developer Weston Homes applied for planning permission for the site, test trenches were dug and the area identified as one which required further investigation.

The site has now been cleared and the findings recorded and the artefacts will be housed in local museums.

Bob Weston, chairman of Weston Homes, added: 'The Anglo-Saxon artefacts are of strong historical importance, so we are taking all measures to ensure that they are being carefully preserved and recorded.

'Only once this work is complete will our new housing scheme be implemented.

'This will be a chance for homebuyers to feel part of a piece of Britain's ancient history on a very special site.'