Over the past month, our understanding of England’s distant past has been upended—not by trained archaeologists, but by two hobbyists with simple metal detectors. While prospecting in village farmlands, the two detectorists found clues that could change the way we understand Anglo-Saxon culture, as well as their battles against Viking invaders. A seventh century island, hidden beneath farmland Graham Vickers was prospecting in the farmlands of Little Carlton, a small village in Lincolnshire, when he discovered a silver stylus in a recently ploughed area. Styluses are ancient writing tools, designed to be used on wax tablets. Vickers quickly reported the finding to England’s Portable Antiquities Scheme, which brought in archaeologists from the University of Sheffield to explore the area. What they found changed their understanding of the region’s history—both in terms of human settlers and the natural landscape. Eventually, archaeologists found a huge range of artifacts from the seventh and eighth centuries, including ornamental buttons and pins, 20 styluses, knives, coins, keys, imported German pottery, and even a gaming piece. One lead tablet was engraved with an Anglo-Saxon woman’s name, “Cudberg.” These objects are poignant hints at lives led by people whose history is largely unrecorded. Archaeologist Hugh Willmott told the BBC that the incredible range of items suggested a “high-status trading… Read full this story
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