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Excavation of a Viking-Age Cemetery at Cumwhitton

An article I wrote for English Heritage on the Cumwhitton cemetery

Heritage Calling

Little did Peter Adams know, when he pulled a metal object from the ground in 2004, that he had made one of the most exciting discoveries in Viking-age archaeology in England for many years. He had been metal-detecting, with permission, on farmland to the west of the quiet village of Cumwhitton in the Eden Valley and, until then, it had been a fruitless search.

The object was reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme and proved to be a brooch that was identified as a rare Viking oval brooch of ninth – or tenth – century date. These are mostly found in pairs and in a burial context. He therefore returned to the site and did, indeed, find a second brooch.

One of the oval brooches found by Peter Adams. © Oxford Archaeology Ltd One of the oval brooches found by Peter Adams. © Oxford Archaeology Ltd

The Portable Antiquities Scheme commissioned Oxford Archaeology North to investigate the site as it was under immediate…

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Begining some casting

Starting some work on some sculpting and mould making this week. Mostly buckles, strapends, and small brooches, with the intention of casting them up in pewter to begin, and perhaps have some copper-alloy casts done later. We have started with some rough miliput sculpts, which we are going to carve and file in detail after it has hardened.

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Most the originals these will be based on are from York, or Northern England and are a mix of very viking styles, and native and carolingian styles from the tenth century.

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When these are done we are casting them up into two-part plaster of Paris moulds.

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I will add a few posts as we go along showing the progress we make.
Einar