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Pagan Anglo-Saxon Inhumation Cemetery, Sleaford

Reference Name MLI82444

Pagan Anglo-Saxon Inhumation Cemetery, Sleaford

Pagan Anglo-Saxon inhumation cemetery near the railway station at Sleaford.


The presence of an Anglo-Saxon cemetery was originally recorded in 1858. In 1881 when the Grantham and Sleaford railway was extended to Boston, approximately 242 inhumations were recorded. A large amount of extremly rich artefacts were recovered from the graves including a hanging bowl, a decorated bucket, many types of bronze and iron brooches, amber, glass and grystal beads formed into numerous necklaces, some with more than 100 beads, pottery urns, iron spears and shield bosses, girdle hangers and coins. The cemetery appears to be roughly split in to three sections, those buried with brooches, beads and pottery appear to be mainly situated at the western end of the site. Those with spears and shield bosses are clustered at the eastern end, and the graves with little or no goods appear at the extreme south-west corner of the site. Many burials were found in rough stone cists. All the artefacts are Anglo-Saxon in date except for the presence of Roman coins, these mainly appear pierced and were used as pendants except for one child burial where six coins in two piles were buried in the child's hand. There are also two cases of animal bones being buried with the body at the time of interment. A small number of cremations have also been found at the same site. {1}{2}{3}{4}

Some of the finds are in Lincoln City and County Museum. {5}

A full catalogue of the 242 graves and their grave goods found during the 1881 excavations is given in an article published shortly afterward. {6}{7}

The hanging bowl found in grave 103 during the 1881 excavations is of an early type, probably of 5th century date although it may even date to the 4th century. The hooks appear to come from an earlier vessel and have been attached to an Irchester-type bowl to form a hanging bowl. The bowl has been repaired on at least one occasion. {8}

1 Index: Sleaford SMR cards. SLEAFORD. TF 04 NE: I
2 Bibliographic Reference: Trollope, Edward. 1872. Sleaford and the Wapentakes of Flaxwell and Aswardhurn in the County of Lincoln. pp.100-1, plate V
3 Article in Serial: Trollope E. 1858. Archaeological Journal- Proceedings at the Meeting of May 7 1858.. pp.275-9
4 Bibliographic Reference: MEANEY, A.. 1964. A Gazetteer of Early Anglo-Saxon Burial Sites. pp.162-3
5 Artefact: City and County Museum Collection. LCNCC 816-823.09
6 Index: Ordnance Survey. Sleaford O.S. cards. SLEAFORD. TF 04 NE; 12
7 Article in Serial: Thomas, George William. 1887. 'On excavations in an Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Sleaford, in Lincolnshire' in Archaeologia. vol.50, pp.383-406
8 Bibliographic Reference: BRUCE-MITFORD, R.. 2005. The Corpus of Late Celtic Hanging-Bowls. Corpus no. 59; pp.212-4, figs 242-6

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Last updated: 02-December-2017 13:48:55

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