London, October 5 (ANI): A metal detecting enthusiast has uncovered a brooch and skull in an Oxfordshire field in England, which may belong to a 6th century Saxon princess.
According to a report in the Herald Series, the early sixth century skeleton was found in West Hanney, near Wantage, by Chris Bayston from Yorkshire, who picked up a signal at a weekend metal detecting rally at the farm, which is not being named to protect the site.
Digging down 13 inches, he found a copper alloy brooch, covered in gold and studded with garnets and coral. Alongside it was the skull.
Bayston, who has been metal detecting for 14 years, said, "I lifted a shovel load of muck out and as I threw it down I saw the brooch."
"I poked a hole open and saw the bones, and that's when I thought, 'Christ, I better stop - I've hit a serious find.' I cannot get my head around it yet. It's a dream come true really, just unbelievable. They may be able to learn a lot from this," he said.
Rally organisers immediately realised they had uncovered a find of national significance, and called police to protect the discovery overnight.
The quality of the Saxon jewellery found pinned to the body has already been compared to treasure found at the Sutton Hoo burial site in Suffolk in 1939, now on display at the British Museum.
Anni Byard, Oxfordshire County Council's finds liaison officer, said that the brooch was likely to have belonged to royalty, or somebody of considerable wealth.
"It's an important find with the burial still intact. Finds like this don't come along very often," she said.
According to rally organiser Peter Welch, of the Weekend Wanderers Detecting Club, "This is the biggest find I've had in over 20 years."
"It could be a Saxon princess or queen, but we will need more excavation to find out. The brooch shows some very skilful workmanship, on a par with the Sutton Hoo burial," he said. (ANI)