Trumpington Village Sign unveiled June 2010, designed by Sheila Betts.
Trumpington Local History Group
Anglo-Saxon Bed Burial and the
'Trumpington Cross'
Copyright © Trumpington Local History Group, 2018. Updated 6 April 2018.
Email:
admin@trumpingtonlocalhistorygroup.org
'Extraordinary' archaeological finds from Trumpington
March 2012, updated April 2018
Latest information, February 2018
The Anglo-Saxon gold and garnet 'Trumpington Cross' found in 2011 during the Trumpington
Meadows excavation has been donated to the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in
Downing Street. The cross and other items from the bed burial
are on temporary display while a
new case is installed
(see below).

See
University of Cambridge, statement, 1 February 2018

Original announcement, 2012
The University of Cambridge has announced details of the archaeological finds from
Trumpington Meadows which we were told about on a Local History Group site visit in May
2011. There is a
press release about the finds (including a link to a video on YouTube of the
excavation and a discussion of its significance and another link to a series of photographs on
Flickr).

In the video, Alison Dickens and Dr Sam Lucy talk about the very rare Saxon bed burial found
within the area of the original Anglo-Saxon settlement, just to the south of the later church. This
alone is a find of national significance, but more remarkably the burial included a very rare solid
gold pectoral cross inlaid with garnets. There are only 5 similar examples of this cross, 1 of
which was found in St Cuthbert's coffin now in Durham Cathedral and may have been his
personal cross. This is an explicitly Christian find from the later 7th century at a time when the
religion was being newly introduced. The burial is of a girl, possibly aristocratic. The grave is
part of a contemporary settlement and may be linked to a monastic foundation, although there is
no written evidence of this. Dr Sam Lucy is quoted as saying "To be buried in this elaborate way
with such a valuable artefact tells us that this girl was undoubtedly high status, probably nobility
or even royalty".

The press release says "There may even be a possible link to the founding of the first monastery
in Ely at around the same time. St Æthelthryth (or Etheldreda), daughter of King Anna of East
Anglia, established the female-headed house at Ely in 673 AD. A cemetery found in Ely by the
CAU in 2006 also contained a later 7th-century burial of a 10-12 year-old with a delicate gold
cross pendant, who was thought to have been associated with the monastery. The parallels
between this site and Trumpington are intriguing, and suggest a more interesting origin for the
village than has previously been thought."

The excavation was by the
Cambridge Archaeological Unit.

See the report on the Local History Group
site visit in May 2011.

Alison Dickens gave a talk to the Local History Group about the Trumpington Meadows
excavation and the Trumpington Cross on
11 April 2013.

Media coverage

2012
BBC Cambridgeshire, 16 March 2012
The Guardian, 16 March 2012

2018
BBC, 1 February 2018
Cambridge News, 1 February 2018
The Guardian, 1 February 2018
The four Anglo-Saxon burial pits, see during a site visit. Photo: Andrew Roberts, 24 May 2011.
The four Anglo-Saxon burial pits,
seen during a site visit. Photo:
Andrew Roberts, 24 May 2011.
An Anglo-Saxon bed
burial and gold and
garnet cross (the
'Trumpington Cross'),
was discovered in 2011
during the Cambridge
Archaeological Unit
excavation at
Trumpington Meadows.
The Trumpington Cross, after cleaning. © Cambridge Archaeological Unit.
The Trumpington Cross.
© Cambridge Archaeological Unit.
The display about the Trumpington Cross at the Museum of
Archaeology and Anthropology. Photo: Andrew Roberts, 9
February 2018.
The display about the Trumpington Cross at the Museum of
Archaeology and Anthropology: the Cross
and gold and garnet
pins and chain
. Photo: Andrew Roberts, 9 February 2018.