‘Stunning’ 1300-year-old gold necklace unearthed in England

“The evidence seems to point to an early female Saxon church leader, perhaps one of the first in this region,” wrote Helen Bond, a professor of Christian descent and head of the School of Divinity at the University of Edinburgh, in Scotland. in an email.


“We know from the Gospels that women played important roles in the earliest Christian movement, as disciples, apostles, teachers and missionaries,” Bond wrote. “Although their role later declined at the highest levels, there were always places where women leaders continued (sometimes even as bishops).”

Amy Brown Hughes, a historical theologian at Gordon College who studies early Christianity, called the necklace, which can be traced back to the 630s to 670s, an “absolutely stunning” artifact from an unstable period when Christianity was established in Anglo-Saxon England.

Hughes noted that women are often omitted from accounts of Christianity and said the necklace provides material evidence that “helps refocus our assumptions about who actually had influence and authority”.

“Her burial showed that this was a woman who was respected as a Christian, known for her devotion, and had a certain amount of authority and influence,” Hughes said in an interview.


Joan Taylor, a professor of Christian ancestry and Second Temple Judaism at King’s College London, said the fact that the woman was apparently buried in a village far from a major population center “testifies to the troubled times in this region of Britain in the 7th century ”.

“Maybe she was traveling or on the run,” Taylor said. “It was a tough one Game of Thrones world with competing royal rulers striving for supremacy. It was also a time when Christianity was spreading, and abbesses and other women of high status could play an important role in this.”

The Museum of Archeology London said it was at “a very early stage of conservation” of the artifacts and hoped to identify any organic material that had survived and learn more about the cross and necklace.

In statements praising the artifacts, the museum and RPS called them the “Harpole hoard”, named after the village of Harpole near the grave, and RPS said they would be featured in an episode of the BBC series Digging for Britain.

“This find is truly a once-in-a-lifetime discovery,” said Simon Mortimer, an archeology consultant at RPS, “the kind of thing you read about in textbooks and not something you expect to see come out of the ground in front of you. “

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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