Cambridgeshire

Anglo-Saxon Trumpington Cross to go on Cambridge display

The Trumpington Cross, a 1300-year-old relic Image copyright University of Cambridge/PA
Image caption The gold and garnet cross, believed to be 1,300-years-old, was unearthed near Cambridge in 2011

A rare Anglo-Saxon cross buried with the body of a teenage girl is to go on display near to where it was found.

The 1,300-year-old gold and garnet cross was unearthed at Trumpington Meadows near Cambridge in 2011 on land for a new housing development.

The grave is thought to be one of the earliest Christian burials in Britain.

The Trumpington Cross, thought to be worth more than £80,000, was donated to Cambridge University's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA).

The girl, aged between 14 and 18, was interred between 650 AD and 680 AD in a rare "bed burial" - one of just 15 found in the UK.

Image copyright University of Cambridge/PA
Image caption The girl was laid in the ground, and surrounded by treasured possessions

Her body was laid in the ground in a wooden-framed bed, with metal brackets and a straw mattress, and surrounded by possessions including gold pins, glass beads and an iron knife.

Cambridge University archaeologists say the cross marked her out as an early convert to Christianity, and indicated she was of aristocratic or even royal blood.

The cross will be displayed at the MAA along with other grave relics.

Senior curator Jody Joy said the cross, and other material recovered from the dig, were of "international quality and significance".

"Taking pride of place in our galleries, the cross will allow us to tell the story of the coming of Christianity to the region and some of the history of this previously unknown Anglo-Saxon settlement," she said.

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