Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

A HIGH-STATUS SEVENTH-CENTURY FEMALE BURIAL FROM WEST HANNEY, OXFORDSHIRE

  • Helena Hamerow (a1), Anni Byard (a2), Esther Cameron (a3), Andreas Düring (a4), Paula Levick (a5), Nicholas Marquez-Grant (a6) and Andrew Shortland (a7)...

Abstract

In 2009, a metal-detector find of a rare garnet-inlaid composite disc brooch at West Hanney, Oxfordshire, led to the excavation of an apparently isolated female burial sited in a prominent position overlooking the Ock valley. The burial dates to the middle decades of the seventh century, a period of rapid socio-political development in the region, which formed the early heartland of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex. The de luxe brooch links the wearer to two other burials furnished with very similar brooches at Milton, some 10km to the east and only c 1km from the Anglo-Saxon great hall complex at Sutton Courtenay / Drayton, just south of Abingdon. All three women must have been members of the region’s politically dominant group, known as the Gewisse. The burial’s grave goods and setting add a new dimension to our understanding of the richly furnished female burials that are such a prominent feature of the funerary record of seventh-century England.

En 2009, un rare exemple de fibule circulaire composite incrustée de grenats fut découvert au moyen d’un détecteur de métaux à West Hanney, dans l’Oxfordshire. Cette trouvaille a entraîné la fouille d’une sépulture féminine apparemment isolée, située un endroit proéminent donnant sur la vallée de l’Ock. La sépulture date des décennies du milieu du viie siècle, période d’expansion socio-politique rapide dans la région, qui forma au début le cœur du royaume anglo-saxon de Wessex. Cette fibule somptueuse relie sa propriétaire à deux autres sépultures qui recélaient des fibules très semblables et ont été découvertes à Milton, à environ 10km à l’est et à seulement 1km du « Great Hall » complex (Complexe de la grande salle) de Sutton Courtenay / Drayton, tout de suite au sud d’Abingdon. Ces trois femmes devaient être membres de la classe politique dominante de la région, les Gewissae. Le mobilier funéraire découvert dans la sépulture ainsi que son cadre apportent une dimension nouvelle à ce que nous savons sur les sépultures féminines richement garnies si caractéristiques des vestiges funéraires de l’Angleterre du viie siècle.

Als im Jahr 2009 eine äußerst seltene, mit Granaten eingelegte Scheibenfibel aus Verbundstoff mit einem Metalldetektor in West Hanney, Oxfordshire, gefunden wurde, hatte dies die Ausgrabung einer scheinbar abgesonderten weiblichen Grabanlage in einer dominanten Lage über dem Ock-Tal zur Folge. Die Beisetzung geht auf die mittleren Jahrzehnte des siebten Jahrhunderts zurück, auf eine Zeit rapider gesellschaftspolitischer Entwicklungen in der Region, die das frühe Herzland des angelsächsischen Königreichs von Wessex bildete. Die luxuriöse Fibel stellt eine Beziehung der Trägerin zu zwei anderen Beisetzungen mit sehr ähnlichen Fibeln in Milton her, das rund 10km östlich davon und nur ca. 1km vom angelsächsischen Palaskomplex in Sutton Courtenay / Drayton, südlich von Abingdon liegt. Alle drei Frauen gehörten mit ziemlicher Gewissheit der politisch dominanten Gruppe in der Region, Gewisse genannt, an. Die Grabbeigaben in der Grabstätte und deren Lage verleihen unserem Verständnis von den reich ausgestatteten weiblichen Grabstätten, die für die Bestattungskultur Englands im siebten Jahrhundert ein so vorstehendes Merkmal sind, eine ganz neue Dimension.

Copyright

References

Hide All
Aufderheide, A C and Rodríguez-Martin, C 1998. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Palaeopathology, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
Avent, R 1975. Anglo-Saxon Garnet-inlaid Disc and Composite Brooches, 2 vols, BAR Brit Ser 15, Oxford
Avent, R and Leigh, D 1977. ‘A study of cross-hatched gold foils in Anglo-Saxon jewellery’, Medieval Archaeol, 21, 146
Bach, H 1965. ‘Zur Berechnung der Körperhöhe aus den langen Gliedmaßenknochen weiblicher Skelette’, Anthropologischer Anzeiger, 20, 1221
Bass, W 1995. Human Osteology: a laboratory and field manual, 4th edn, Missouri Archaeological Society, Springfield, Missouri
Bayliss, A and Hines, J 2013. Anglo-Saxon Graves and Grave Goods of the Sixth and Seventh Centuries AD: a chronological framework, Soc Medieval Archaeol Monogr 33, London
Bimson, M 1985. ‘Dark-Age garnet cutting’, Anglo-Saxon Stud Archaeol Hist, 4, 125128
Blair, J 2005. The Church in Anglo-Saxon Society, Oxford University Press, Oxford
Boyle, A, Hacking, P, Allen, T and Ambers, J 2002. ‘The Anglo-Saxon grave from Boveney’, in A Foreman, J Hiller and D Petts (eds), Gathering the People, Settling the Land: the archaeology of a middle Thames landscape, 2834, Oxford Archaeology, Oxford
Boyle, A, Jennings, D, Miles, D and Palmer, S 2011. The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Butler’s Field, Lechlade, Gloucestershire. Volume 2: the Anglo-Saxon grave goods, Oxford Archaeology, Oxford
Brickley, M and McKinley, J 2004. Guidelines to the Standards for Recording Human Remains, IFA Paper 7, Institute of Field Archaeology, Reading
Brothwell, D 1981. Digging up Bones, 3rd edn, Cornell University Press, New York
Buikstra, J E and Ubelaker, D 1994. Standards for Data Collection from Human Skeletal Remains: proceedings of a seminar at the Field Museum of Natural History, Arkansas Archaeological Survey, Arkansas
Burger-Heinrich, E 2001. ‘Appendix 1. Die menschlichen Skelettreste’, in A M Groove (ed), Das alamannische Gräberfeld von Munzingen / Stadt Freiburg, 347424, Konrad Theiss Verlag, Stuttgart
Byard, A 2011. ‘An Anglo-Saxon burial from West Hanney, Oxfordshire’, Medieval Archaeol, 55, 294296
Byard, A 2013. ‘Metal detecting as ploughzone archaeology: the case of West Hanney, Oxfordshire’, unpublished MSc thesis, University of Oxford
Chamberlain, A T 2006. Demography in Archaeology, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
Colgrave, B and Mynors, R A B 1979. Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Clarendon Press, Oxford
Crawford, S 2004. ‘Votive deposition, religion, and the Anglo-Saxon furnished burial ritual’, World Archaeol, 36 (1), 87102
Dickinson, T 1974. Cuddesdon and Dorchester-on-Thames, BAR Brit Ser 1, Oxford
Düring, A 2011. Von schwerem Leben und frühem Tod. Der frühmittelalterliche Friedhof Bärenthal aus archäologisch-anthropologischer Perspektive [Magisterarbeit], Universität Tübingen Tübingen
Düring, A 2014. ‘Der Friedhof von Bärenthal auf der Scherra. Lebensverhältnisse und Bestattungsbrauch einer Dorfbevölkerung des 7. bis 10. Jahrhunderts’, Fundberichte aus Baden-Württemberg, 34 (2), 391490
East, K 1985. ‘A study of the cross-hatched gold foils from Sutton Hoo’, Anglo-Saxon Stud Archaeol Hist, 4, 129141
Evison, V 1981. Dover Buckland Anglo-Saxon Cemetery, English Heritage, London
Evison, V 2008. A Catalogue of Anglo-Saxon Glass in the British Museum, British Museum Press, London
Fell, C 1984. Women in Anglo-Saxon England, British Museum Press, London
Freestone, I, Hughes, M and Stapleton, C 2008. ‘The composition and production of Anglo-Saxon glass’, in Evison 2008, 2946
Geake, H 1997. The Use of Grave-Goods in Conversion-Period England, c 600–c 850, BAR Brit Ser 261, Oxford
Geake, H 2003. ‘The control of burial practice in Anglo-Saxon England’, in M Carver (ed), The Cross Goes North: processes of conversion in Northern Europe AD 300–1300, 259270, University of York, York
Gelling, M 1973–6. The Place-Names of Berkshire, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
Hamerow, H 1993. ‘An Anglo-Saxon cemetery near West Hendred, Oxfordshire’, Anglo-Saxon Stud Archaeol Hist, 6, 113124
Hamerow, H, Ferguson, C and Naylor, J 2013. ‘The “Origins of Wessex” pilot project’, Oxoniensia, 78, 4970
Hamerow, H, Hayden, C and Hey, C 2008. ‘Anglo-Saxon and earlier settlement near Drayton Road, Sutton Courtenay, Berkshire’, Archaeol J, 164, 109196
Hamerow, H, Hollevoet, Y and Vince, A 1994. ‘Migration-period settlement and “Anglo-Saxon” pottery from Flanders’, Medieval Archaeol, 38, 118
Harrington, S 2008. Aspects of Gender Identity and Craft Production in the European Migration Period, BAR Int Ser 1797, Oxford
Hawkes, S C 1975. ‘The Monkton brooch’, Antiq J, 54 (2), 245256
Hawkes, S C 1986. ‘The Early Saxon period’, in G Briggs, J Cook and T Rowley (eds), The Archaeology of the Oxford Region, 64108, Oxford University Dept for External Studies, Oxford
Henderson, C Y, Mariotti, V, Pany-Kucera, D, Villotte, S and Wilczak, C 2013. ‘Recording specific entheseal changes of fibrocartilaginous entheses: initial tests using the Coimbra method’, Int J Osteoarchaeology, 23 (2), 152162
Hillson, S 1996. Dental Anthropology, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
Hines, J 2013. ‘Implications for Anglo-Saxon social history’, in Bayliss and Hines 2013, 528545
Kaufmann, B 2000. ‘Die Bevölkerung von Berslingen – Anthropologische Bearbeitung der Gräber’, in K Bänteli, M Höneisen and K Zubler (eds), Berslingen - ein verschwundenes Dorf bei Schaffhausen Mittelalterliche Besiedlung und Eisenverhüttung im Durachtal, 173181, Kantonsarchäologie Schaffhausen, Schaffhausen
Kelly, S 2001. Charters of Abingdon Abbey, 2 vols, Oxford University Press, Oxford
Kokkotidis, K G 1999. ‘Von der Wiege bis zur Bahre - Untersuchungen zur Paläodemographie der Alamannen des frühen Mittelalters’, doctoral dissertation, University of Cologne, <http://kups.ub.uni-koeln.de> (6 Nov 2014)
Langley-Shirley, N and Jantz, R L 2010. ‘A Bayesian approach to age estimation in modern Americans from the clavicle’, J Forensic Sci, 55 (3), 571583
LeJan, R 2001. ‘Convents, violence and competition for power in seventh-century France’, in M de Jong and F Theuws (eds), Topographies of Power in the Early Middle Ages, 243270, Brill, Leiden
Lovejoy, C O, Meindl, R S, Pryzbeck, T R and Mensforth, R P 1985. ‘Chronological metamorphosis of the auricular surface of the ilium: a new method for the determination of adult skeletal age at death’, American J Physical Anthropol, 68, 1528
Martin, R 1914. Lehrbuch der Anthropologie, Fischer, Jena
Mays, S, Brickley, M and Dodwell, N 2002. Human Bones from Archaeological Sites: guidelines for producing assessment documents and analytical reports, Centre for Archaeology Guidelines English Heritage / BABAO, London
McKern, T W and Stewart, T D 1957. Skeletal Age Changes in Young American Males, Quartermaster Research and Development Command Technical Report EP-45, Natick, Massachusetts
Meaney, A 1964. A Gazetteer of Early Anglo-Saxon Burial Sites, Allen & Unwin, London
Meaney, A 1981. Anglo-Saxon Amulets and Curing Stones, BAR Brit Ser 96, Oxford
Meaney, A and Hawkes, S C 1970. Two Anglo-Saxon Cemeteries at Winnall, Soc Medieval Archaeol Monogr 4, London
Miles, A W E 1962. ‘Assessment of the ages of a population of Anglo-Saxons from their dentitions’, Proc Roy Soc Medicine, 55, 881886
Nelson, J and Rio, A 2013. ‘Women and laws in early medieval Europe’, in J Bennett and R Mazo Karras (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Women and Gender in Medieval Europe, 103117, Oxford University Press, Oxford
Owen-Crocker, G 2004. Dress in Anglo-Saxon England, Boydell Press, Woodbridge
Penn, K 2000. Excavations on the Norwich Southern Bypass 1989–91. Part II: the Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Harford Farm, Caistor St Edmund, Norfolk, E Anglian Archaeol Rep 92, Norwich
Penn, K 2011. The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Shrubland Hall Quarry, Coddenham, Suffolk, East Anglian Archaeol Rep 139, Norwich
Perreard Lopreno, G, Alves Cardoso, F, Assis, S, Milella, M and Speith, N 2013. ‘Categorization of occupation in documented skeletal collections: its relevance for the interpretation of activity-related osseous changes’, Int J Osteoarchaeology, 23 (2), 175185
Pinder, M 1995. ‘Anglo-Saxon garnet cloisonné composite disc brooches: some aspects of their construction’, J Brit Archaeol Ass, 148, 628
Roberts, C A 2009. Human Remains in Archaeology: a handbook, Council for British Archaeology, York
Roberts, C A and Cox, M 2003. Health and Disease in Britain: from prehistory to the present day, Sutton Publishing, Stroud
Roberts, C A and Manchester, K 2005. The Archaeology of Disease, Sutton Publishing, Stroud
Rösing, F W 1977. ‘Methoden und Aussagemöglichkeiten der anthropologischen Leichenbrandbearbeitung’, Archäologie und Naturwissenschaften, 1, 5380
Schulz, R, Mühler, M, Reisinger, W, Schmidt, S and Schmeling, A 2008. ‘Radiographic staging of ossification of the medial clavicular epiphysis’, Int J Legal Medicine, 122, 5558
Scull, C 2009. Early Medieval Cemeteries at Boss Hall and Buttermarket, Ipswich, Suffolk, Soc Medieval Archaeol Monogr 27, London
Sherlock, S 2012. A Royal Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Streethouse, Loftus, North East Yorkshire, Tees Archaeology, Hartlepool
Siegmund, F 2010. Die Körpergröße der Menschen in der Ur- und Frühgeschichte Mitteleuropas und ein Vergleich ihrer anthropologischen Schätzmethoden, Books on Demand, Noderstedt
Speake, G 1980. Animal Art and Its Germanic Background, Clarendon Press, Oxford
Speake, G 1989. A Saxon Bed Burial on Swallowcliffe Down, Engl Heritage Archaeol Rep 10, London
Stoodley, N 1999. The Spindle and the Spear: a critical enquiry into the construction and meaning of gender in the early Anglo-Saxon burial rite, BAR Brit Ser 288, Oxford
Trotter, M 1970. ‘Estimation of stature from intact long limb bones’, in T D Stewart (ed), Personal Identification in Mass Disasters, 7183, Smithsonian Institute, Washington
Trotter, M and Gleser, G C 1952. ‘Estimation of stature from long bones of American Whites and Negroes’, American J Physical Anthropol, new ser, 10, 463514
Vallois, H V 1937. ‘La durée de la vie chez l’homme fossile’, L’Anthropologie, 47, 499532
Waldron, T 2009. Palaeopathology, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
Walton Rogers, P 2007. Cloth and Clothing in Early Anglo-Saxon England AD 450–700, Council for British Archaeology, York
White, T D and Folkens, P A 2005. The Human Bone Manual, Elsevier, Burlington, San Diego, and London
Williams, H 2003. ‘Material culture as memory: combs and cremation in early medieval Britain’, Early Medieval Europe, 12 (2), 89128
Williams, H 2010. ‘Engendered bodies and objects of memory in final phase graves’, in J Buckberry and A Cherryson (eds), Burial in Late Anglo-Saxon England, 2638, Oxbow Books, Oxford
Wood, J W, Milner, G R, Harpending, H C, Weiss, K M, Cohen, M N, Eisenberg, L E, Hutchinson, D L, Jankauskas, R and Česnys, G 1992. ‘The osteological paradox: problems of inferring prehistoric health from skeletal samples’, Current Anthropol, 33 (4), 343370
Wormald, P 2006. ‘Appendix: Hilda, saint and scholar (614–680)’, in S Baxter (ed), The Times of Bede: studies in early English Christian society, 267276, Blackwell Publishing, Oxford

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed