Reminding us that archaeologists for all their undoubted intelligence, ingenuity, industry and general egg headedness dont always have the answers, experts from the Canterbury Archaeological Trust (CAT) have this week been forced to put up their hands and admit they remain unsure as to the purpose of a Saxon artefact discovered two years ago.
The tiny circular silver, bronze and wooden disk was found in a Saxon burial ground at The Meads in Sittingbourne, Kent, in 2008. It was part of a cache of some 2,500 Saxon artefacts. CAT researchers have peered at the small object through a microscope and X-rayed it to little avail. Since the artefact was found next to a sword, some kind of decorative form of mount is the best guess theyve come up with so far.
We dont currently recognise it, but it may be a decorative mount on something, CAT Finds Manager Andrew Richardson told BBC News, but we don’t know what its mounted on.
CAT aren’t ready to give up yet, though. Theyll continue to carry out tests, and begin ploughing through articles about burial grounds to see if they can yield any clues.
I need to look at it closely and consider its relationship to other objects in the grave, which I havent done yet,Richardson told Heritage Key. Nor have I yet carried out a trawl through the literature. Im hopeful I will eventually find a parallel or work out its function.
Richardson admitted, however, that the artefact’s purpose may never be identified.It is possible that it is something of a one-off item that will remain difficult to classify, he conceded.
The rest of the 2,500-objects strong Meads horde is currently undergoing a cleaning and identification process by a group of specially trained experts and volunteers at a temporary laboratory in a Sittingbourne shopping centre. Never let it be said that this archaeology business isnt glamorous.
Do you have any idea what the mystery Sittingbourne Saxon find is? Suggestions sensible ones only please are welcome in the comments field below.