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Anglo Saxon Burial

12 May 2019

At https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2019/05/anglo-saxon-princely… … (see also https://phys.org/news/2019-05-britain-king-tut-tomb-roadside.html) … a small bump on a patch of grass in Essex, situated between a road and a railway line, has yielded the grave of an Anglo Saxon prince which shows influence of Christianity in around 600AD, when England was supposedly thoroughly pagan. It was spotted as a potential archaeological site as early as 2003 – but things move slowly in archaeological circles. This Christian royal burial seems to give a lie to the idea the Saxon ruling elite were pagan and suppressed Christianity. However, it is further evidence that Christianity, introduced in the Roman period, did not die out in the post-Roman period as far as St Albans was concerned, and the hinterland which includes all of Hertfordshire and a lot of Essex.

The tombae includes carefully arranged gold coins and coloured glass, wooden drinking vessels with an exotic origin, and various other valuable grave goods (as befitted a pagan burial) but also included evidence of Christianity, such as a gold foil cross. The underground structure would have formed a 13 feet square five feet under the surface. It contained fragments of a lyre and painted A/S woodwork etc. The media of course concentrate on the riches in the grave, as they tend to, when it is the Christian aspect (a nod to a Roman era god) that is most important. The site, at Prittlewell, was discovered accidentally by road workers. See also https://prittlewellprincelyburial.org … and www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-48203883

Another interesting development  is at https://phys.org/news/2019-05-ancient-dna-northern-europeans-languages.html … which might be a case of putting two and two together and arriving at five. European speakers of Uralic languages such as Estonian and Finnish share DNA with Siberians, which is old news. A research paper in Current Biology (May 9th 2019) says the langauges arrived in Europe as recently as the beginning of the Iron Age (which is new news). Apparently, it did not evolve in Europe but arrived in early to mid first millennium BC (and reached the coastlines of the Baltic Sea where it came to a halt). What set these people into motion? We know that the steppe zone (south of the Uralic north) experienced unrest by the advent of Cimmerians, and somewhat later, Scythian tribes, into the Near and Middle East.

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