Metal detector discovery leads to important archaeological find

Discoveries lead to unearthing artifacts from the eighth century in England.

Graham Vickers, while searching a plowed field with his metal detector, came across a single find, a writing stylus, and the discovery led researchers to uncover an eight-century village British archaeologists are calling a “site of international importance,” according to an article on discovery.com.

Located in the village of Little Carlton, near Louth, Lincolnshire, the site, being hailed as one of the most important archaeological finds in the United Kingdom in decades, was once home to a Middle Saxon settlement, and since the discovery, archaeologists have uncovered numerous items that indicate the site could have been a major trade center.

Vickers’ discovery, a silver stylus, which was an ornate writing tool, dating back the the eighth century, was just one of the first of many amazing artifacts found at the site.  An additional 20 styli have been unearthed, along with some 300 dress pins, a small lead tablet bearing the female Anglo-Saxon name Cudberg, and a large number of coins from the seventh and eighth centuries, known as “sceattas.”  Vickers recorded the finds with a GPS system, and alerted England’s Portable Antiquities Scheme to the discoveries

In later research, researchers from the University of Sheffield excavating at the site uncovered the remains of a butchered animal and some Saxon pottery.  The research team used geophysical and magnetometry surveys and 3D modeling to digitally restore the water level of the island to its medieval state to get a clearer picture of what the area looked like at that time.

Hugh Willmott, from the Sheffield’s department of archaeology, said in a statement the island was enclosed between a basin and a ditch, and the area was a focal point in the Lincolnshire area which was connected by water to the outside world.  Willmott continued, “It’s clearly a very high-status Saxon site … it’s clearly not your everyday find.”

Student workers from the University of Sheffield have dug nine evaluation trenches at the site already, and the excavating is exposing an area that appears to have been used for industry.  Items like trade weights and other objects uncovered suggest the settlement was not just an ordinary village, but was likely a high-status trading site or possibly a monastery.

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