Archaeologists Uncover 1,300-Year-Old Necklace at Medieval Burial Site
The Museum of London Archaeology called it “one of the most spectacular female Early Medieval burials ever discovered in the U.K.”
The Museum of London Archaeology announced the findings in a press release last week, naming the hoard the necklace is a part of the “Harpole Treasure.”
The Vistry Group, a U.K.-based house building company, had commissioned a search of an area in Northamptonshire before beginning construction.
The dig had been “pretty unremarkable” until the team spotted a glimmer of gold.
“When the first glints of gold started to emerge from the soil, we knew this was something significant. However, we didn’t quite realize how special this was going to be,” said MOLA Site Supervisor Levente-Bence Balázs.
In April, the team uncovered a necklace dating back to 630-670 AD. It has several pendants, including gold Roman coins, gemstones set in gold, and decorated glass pendants set in gold.
The pendants are spaced out by gold beads.
At the center of the necklace is a large rectangular pendant made of red garnets and gold with a cross motif.
“We think that it was originally half of a hinge clasp before it was reused in this necklace,” said the museum.
For jewelry historian and antiques expert Tanzy Ward of Zanathia Jewelry, the necklace is both a treasure and a helpful research tool.
“The intricate details on the pendants gives us more insight on the traditional designs and artistic craftsmanship that was superior in early Medieval times,” said Ward.
“Additionally, the jewelry of this era was one of the major influences in early Victorian Era styles as well. Finding a remarkable piece of this caliber is amazing to study and compare with later jewelry designs that tried to reproduce the aesthetic of the Medieval Era.”
A similar necklace, called the “Desborough necklace,” was discovered in the same area in 1876. It is considered to be the finest of its kind and is currently stored in the British Museum.
While similar necklaces have been found, this necklace is notable for its variety of pendants and that it’s believed to be intact.
The museum believes the site is that of a female burial. While no significant human remains were found, similar necklaces have been discovered at female burial sites from this period and “extravagant burials” are nearly exclusive to women during this period.
Aside from the necklace, the team also found other treasures that gave them insight into who this woman might have been.
When they x-rayed soil blocks from the site, they found a large ornate cross set with garnets and smaller crosses at the end of each arm.
The piece is being micro-excavated, but an x-ray shows an incredible level of detail.
At the end of the two arms of the cross, there are human faces cast in silver.
“The sheer size of the cross suggests the woman buried here may have been an early Christian leader,” said the museum, calling it “one of the most spectacular female Early Medieval burials ever discovered in the U.K.”
As for what’s next, the team said it is in the early stages of conservation and analysis and hopes to learn more about the cross and necklace.
As per the country’s Treasure Act, the findings were reported to the coroner and have to go through a legal process.
If declared to be a “treasure,” the goods will then be valued by the Treasure Valuation Committee.
The Vistry Group has waived its right to a portion of the reward, so the valuation process may be skipped.
For comparison, though, a contemporary gold and garnet pendant, known as the “Winfarthing pendant,” was discovered in Norfolk in 2014 and was valued at £145,000 ($178,000).
The trend forecaster and her guests explored unconventional jewelry designs, NFTs, AI art, and more during her Trendvision presentation.
The Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative provides diamond credit and mentorship to young brands helmed by BIPOC designers.
De Beers Institute of Diamonds provides the very best in diamond verification, education and diamond services.
Rolex remained No. 1 while a brand known for its pilot watches slipped into the No. 5 spot.
De Beers is sharing over 130 years of experience and expertise through the De Beers Institute of Diamonds with a selection of courses.
Jewelry designers have until early February to apply to take part in Couture's Diversity Action Council program.
Morgan P. Richardson joins from La Perla.
The new portal will share information on responsible platinum sourcing and how it’s used beyond jewelry.
Purchased directly from Rio Tinto, the collection consists of pinks, purples and one red, none larger than 1.52 carats.
Sherry Smith breaks down retailers’ performance last year, including how natural diamonds fared vs. lab-grown.
The AGS Ideal Report by GIA is a digital-only addition to GIA diamond reports.
Its focus are words like “sustainability,” “ethics,” and “responsible sourcing.”
She was previously the executive director of sales and marketing for the De Beers Group-owned company.
It’s from a new collection of charms designed to go in the brand’s signature lockets.
The revised Laboratory-Grown Diamond Report-Dossier still includes the four Cs but doesn’t list growth method or post-growth treatments.
Holiday sales fell short of the National Retail Federation’s expectations, rising only 5 percent year-over-year.
The businesswoman and reality TV star paid nearly $200,000 for the “Attallah Cross.”
Luxury retail veteran Claudia Cividino has stepped into the role.