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19,000 Millennia-Spanning Artifacts Discovered by Archaeologists

Gold pendant found at a ‘Once-In-A-Decade’ Site
Archaeologists in England discovered tens of thousands of artifacts dated between the Mesolithic to the early Medieval periods. Credit: Orbit Homes

Archaeologists have discovered approximately 19,000 ancient artifacts, some even from before written history, up to the early Middle Ages. These artifacts were found at a “once-in-a-decade” site in the UK.

This discovery was made while digging at Calthorpe Gardens, near Banbury, a town in southern England. Orbit Homes, the company building new houses there, shared the news. They found these artifacts while preparing to build new homes at Calthorpe.

The oldest artifacts found during this dig are flint tools from the Mesolithic period, also known as the Middle Stone Age. In Britain, this period lasted from about 10,000 BC to 4,000 BC as reported by Newsweek.

Remnants of a small settlement from the Bronze Age

Researchers uncovered what is left of a small community from the Late Bronze Age to the Middle or Late Iron Age. In the vicinity, they also discovered an Anglo-Saxon burial site from the early medieval period. The remains of at least 52 people are buried there.

The Anglo-Saxons were a group of people who lived in Britain during the early Middle Ages. They came from Germanic tribes and settled in Britain after the Romans left around 410 AD.

The artifacts from the Calthorpe site include items from a Late Bronze Age to Middle/Late Iron Age settlement. Among these are handmade pottery and tools for making textiles. The settlement had several large enclosures likely used for keeping animals and remains of roundhouses.

From the later Anglo-Saxon burials, researchers found many grave items. These include bead necklaces, pendants, personal items, and weapons.

Janice McLeish, the director of post-excavation services at Border Archaeology, shared her excitement about the grave goods found. In an Orbit Homes video, she said, “The grave goods are astounding, just in the volume, their style—there are so many different types of material.”

“Within the assemblage, we’ve got glass beads, we’ve got metalwork, we’ve got some pottery. It’s just a really remarkable assemblage to have on one site.”

‘Beautiful’ gold pendant from the Anglo-Saxon cemetery

A standout find from the Anglo-Saxon cemetery was a “beautiful” gold pendant. This pendant features pre-Christian animal designs, including an intertwined serpent.

BA field archaeologist Hayley Parsons expressed her amazement in the video, saying, “This is a once-in-a-decade site…with once-in-a-lifetime kinds of finds that are coming up—it’s incredible.”

Another notable discovery was a “gorgeous” Iron Age weaving comb. According to McLeish, this comb was used as part of the loom and weaving process.

The discoveries at the Calthorpe site are now seen as having “significant” regional importance, according to Orbit Homes. These finds will provide valuable insights into the lives of people who lived in the area over several thousand years.

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