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Monument Name Great Chesterford Anglo-Saxon cemetery
SMR Number 4939
Summary Anglo Saxon mixed cemetery of 161 inhumation graves, 33 cremation graves, 2 horse and 2 dog burials.
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Description Anglo Saxon mixed cemetery of 161 inhumation graves, 33 cremation graves, 2 horse and 2 dog burials. Situated to the north-west of the Roman town, lying on the east bank of the River Cam. Commercial digging of gravel in 1952 produced evidence of Saxon burials; estimated that some 100 graves may have been destroyed without record. A few objects found their way into private posession and were recorded by Cambridge Museum. Previous finds from the area include a cruciform brooch found in 1819, at one time in Liverpool Museum but no longer extant; an Anglo Saxon type bowl from west of Borough Field (was in Audley End Museum, now at Cambridge AE Museum) and an urn and spearhead found at TL 50084339. <1>-<4><6><7> Fox records pottery, bone spindle whorl and a bronze fragment, were in Cambridge Museum.<5> Excavations by FK Annable on behalf of the Inspectorate of Ancient Monuments in 1953 <8> revealed Roman pits and postholes and Saxon burials; V.I. Evison excavated the Saxon burials as they appeared. <1> Intermittent excavation of the Saxon burials continued under the directorship of Evison in advance of gravel extraction until 1955; further excavation of the Roman pits and other features revealed was not undertaken as the ground had to be kept level as for the convenience of the gravel extractors.<1> The excavated area is thought to be a section cut through the centre of the cemetery with only the southern limit defined. There was little disturbance of one grave by another so it is assumed there were surface markers. Depth of graves ranged from 10 to 175cm. Skeletons fairly well preserved; 88 adults; 83 non-adults; 42 males; 63 females and 66 not sexed. There was a very high incidence of non- adults, including 15 foetuses. A group of men buried without weapons but with exotic grave-goods may be the Romano-British element or foreign merchants. Evison discusses groupings within the cemetery associated with religion and the presence of Roman tumuli. Cremations were all in pots; 31 in total of which 21 adult; 3 non-adults; 7 not aged; males 2; females 12 not sexed 28. Evison defines 4 phases of the cemetery giving a date range of AD 450- 600.<1>Grave-goods included 2 swords; spears; shield bosses brooches; a pendant; bracelets; wrist-clasps; pottery; glass vessels; bronze bowls; buckets; knives; girdle-hangers; a hone; fire steels; combs and an ivory ring. No gold objects and little silver. Nails in grave fills may be from coffins or biers. Associated settlement is still to be found.<1> Area of Saxon cemetery scheduled.<10>. Most artefacts in the British Museum.<11>.<12> Artefacts still undergoing analysis at the British Museum. <9> Other ref: <10> <11> Site Assessment = Site ?partly destroyed by gravel extraction. Further burials might lie to the east of the excavated area.<1>
Monument Type(s) CREMATION (Dated 410AD to 1065AD)
INHUMATION (Dated 410AD to 1065AD)
CEMETERY (Dated 410AD to 1065AD)
Monument Class(es) SUB SURFACE DEPOSIT
Period 410AD to 1065AD Early Medieval
Status Scheduled Monument
Administration Area GREAT CHESTERFORD, UTTLESFORD, ESSEX
National Grid Reference Square: TL54SW
Ref: 501435
Finds GLASS BEAD (Dated 500AD To 600AD)

AMBER BEAD (Dated 500AD To 600AD)

GLASS BOWL (Dated 410AD To 500AD)

BRONZE BROOCH (Dated 410AD To 600AD)

BRONZE BUCKET (Dated 500AD To 600AD)

BRONZE BUCKLE (Dated 410AD To 600AD)

BONE COMB (Dated 500AD To 600AD)

IVORY FINGER RING (Dated 500AD To 600AD)

IRON GIRDLE HANGER (Dated 500AD To 600AD)

IRON KNIFE (Dated 410AD To 600AD)

IRON KNIFE (Dated 500AD To 600AD)

IRON NECKLACE (Dated 500AD To 600AD)

SILVER PENDANT (Dated 410AD To 500AD)

IRON PIN (Dated 500AD To 600AD)

IRON RING (Dated 500AD To 600AD)

BRONZE SHEATH (Dated 410AD To 600AD)

BRONZE SLEEVE CLASP (Dated 410AD To 600AD)

IRON SPEAR (Dated 410AD To 600AD)

BONE SPINDLE WHORL (Dated 500AD To 600AD)

IRON SWORD (Dated 410AD To 500AD)

GLASS VESSEL (Dated 410AD To 600AD)

POTTERY VESSEL (Dated 410AD To 600AD)

STONE WHETSTONE (Dated 500AD To 600AD)

Events SALV EXCAV by Evison, VI and Annable, K,

SALV EXCAV by Evison, VI

Field visit to 4939 by Paterson, H, FMW on SEP-197

Field visit to 4939 by Paterson, H, FMW on OCT-198

Field visit to 4939 by Chant, K, FMW on FEB-1982

Sources <1> Desc Text : An Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Great Chesterford, Essex (Evison, VI) CBA Res Rep 91 Dated : 1994

<10> Scheduling record : DOE Scheduled Ancient Monuments (HBMC) Part 1 Dated : 1983

<11> Artifact : ARTEFACT BM (unknown) Dated : unknown

<11> Desc Text : Great Chesterford: Historic Town Assessment Report (Medlycott, Maria) Dated : 1999

<12> Scheduling record : Schedule Entry Copy (English Heritage ?) Dated : 1951

<2> Desc Text : Essex - VCH (Hull, MR) Vol 3 p88 Dated : 1963

<3> RECORD SHEET/FORM : OS cards (Ordnance Survey) TL54SW09, 1977 Dated : unknown

<4> Desc Text : A Gazetteer of Early Anglo-Saxon Burial Sites (Meaney, A) p85-86 Dated : 1964

<5> Desc Text : Archaeology of the Cambridge Region (Fox, C) p265 Dated : 1923

<6> Desc Text : Arts in Early England (Baldwin Brown, CT) Vol 3 p270 Dated : 1915

<7> Artifact : ARTEFACT Cambridge AE Museum (Cambridge Archaeology and Ethnography Museum) Dated : unknown

<8> Desc Text : Excavations at Great Chesterford, Essex 1953-5 (Draper, J) Proc Cambs Antiq Soc LXXV p3-41 Dated : 1986

<9> Desc Text : Five Anglo-Saxon Graves Containing Pots at Gt Chesterford, Essex (Evison, VI) vol 19 p157-173 Dated : 1969