Wendover HS2

18 June 2022
Archaeology

Kevin sent in the link to https://www.heritagedaily.com/2022/06/discovery-of-anglo-anglo-saxon-burials-of-national-significance/143860 … archaeological investigations along the line of the high speed train route, HS2, have beamed in on a site near Wendover, at a location just below the Chiltern escarpment. The burial site dates back to the 5th and 6th centuries AD, or the particular graves in question. They are therefore defined in archaeological speak as Anglo Saxon period, as opposed to Roman and Iron Age British. The burials may very well belong to people of the  first Brexit, when Brittannia became independent of the Romans and went its own way. Some of the artifacts are described as resembling those of the Roman period, another archaeological term to define finds from the 1st to 4th centuries AD. Most of the graves appear to be of high status individuals so they may represent local representatives of the post-Roman population and are not necessarily Anglo Saxon, as in newcomers. Some of them may be as intermarriage with the gentry occurred at some point in the 6th century in order to facilitate the nobility switch to a focus on Anglo Saxon trade and religion. Do any of these graves display a Christian heritage as it is unknown what occurred to the church when the Romans left. This will probably emerge when the finds are fully published. What is at the moment clear is that the burial site which the new  rail line bisects was used as a resting place for well to do people of the time, which sort of nixes the idea that the Roman Brexit involved a sharp drop in living standards. As the remit does not include widening the excavation to the surrounding area we don’t know what else might be there, a villa complex perhaps. Presumably further excavation by local archaeologists may take place once HS2 moves on. What is further of interest is that they claim there is also evidence of people from the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron ages, as well as the Roman period, at the burial site. That means going back to at least 3000BC. It is surely a site worth further investigation, situated as it is at the head of a valley that bisects the chalk hills of the Chilterns, with a direct route to what is now London. Some 89 brooches have been catalogued, 51 knives, amber beads, 40 buckles, 15 spear heads, 7 shield bosses, and so on. Drinking vessels, some made of glass, are also part of the finds, which will be published later no doubt, in full.

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