Metal detectorist, Graham Vickers, recently discovered an archaeological site that is believed to have been an Anglo-Saxon Island used as a trading center. Vickers discovered the remains in Lincolnshire, England. The site has been described as “a site of international importance” for yielding hundreds of artifacts. The site is believed to have had trade links across the Northern Sea at the time.
The Island was found at Little Carlton near Louth, Lincolnshire. The Island was once home to Middle Saxon settlement and has yielded a broad range of artifacts.
Vickers reported his findings to the Portable Antiquities Scheme – which encourages members of the public to report voluntarily any artefacts – and returned to the site only to discover more writing tools after finding 18th-century ornate silver stylus at the site. Vickers found 20 styli. Vickers also unearthed a huge number of “Sceattas,” and around 300 dress pins. Sceattas are thick silver coins that were used during the 17th and 18th century.
Vickers also discovered a rare writing tablet made of lead, engraved with the name “Cudberg,” a female Anglo-Saxon name. In order to build up a picture of the ancient settlement, Vickers recorded the GPS location of each of his findings. That was before researchers from the University of Sheffield came to survey the site in detail.
To create an image of the landscape and to visualize the surroundings where the site would have existed, University of Sheffield archaeology department used geophysical and magnetometer, together with 3D modelling. The researchers discovered that the Island is rising out of the surrounding landscape and would have been more obvious in the 18th century than it is presently. These researchers then recreated – digitally - the original water level during the Anglo-Saxon period and confirmed how the site would have been enclosed by a basin and ditch while connected to other parts of the world.
It is unclear whether the location was a trading hub or an unknown monastic center. Dr. Hugh Willmott – from the University of Sheffield – told the Guardian “The quantity of finds that have come from the site is very unusual, it’s clearly not your everyday find.” Further discoveries of pottery, butchered animal bones, and trade-related artifacts like weights, suggest the Island was once a high-status Saxon site. Dr. Hugh said, “It’s one of the most important sites of its kind in that part of the world.”
Dr. Hugh further stated that the discovery resembled Flixborough, another Lincolnshire site unearthed in the late 1980s. Hugh admitted that the discovery is not an everyday find.
The evaluation trenches dug by the university are already yielding valuable information. One suggests that a portion of the island may have been used for industrial working. However, these are just preliminary analysis and it is still early to make any conclusions. With further excavations, it is hoped that the exact purpose of the settlement will become clearer.
Dr. Hugh commended Vickers move of reporting his findings to the Portable Antiquities Scheme. He described it as “really nice collaboration between the general public and the university.”