A royally furnished inhumation cemetery of the 7th century has been excavated at Loftus in Teesside, north-eastern England. The finds are sensational as they hail from the “final phase” of furnished burial, when England had already been re-Christianised and grave wealth was in steep decline. Among the remarkable finds are gold-and-garnet jewellery in a southern English style. The cemetery centred on a bed burial, which is exceptionally rare. Historical sources suggest an explanation:
“The speculation is that the royals buried on Teesside are linked to the Kentish princess Ethelburga, who travelled north to marry Edwin, King of Northumbria.
She brought with her the Bishop Paulinus who baptised Northumbrian converts at Edwin’s Ad Gefrin royal palace site at Yeavering, near Wooler, in Northumberland.”
Update 23 November: More info collected at Carla Nayland’s blog.
For an in-depth analysis of the period’s grave customs, see Helen Geake’s 1997 book The use of grave-goods in Conversion-period England, c. 600 — c. 850. Thanks to Ian Rogers for the link.