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Saxon pendant with Roman jewel found in Kingsey fieldBBC Beds, Herts & Bucks
19th June 2022
The engraved semi-precious gem is known as an intaglio and shows a figure with a raised whip on a small chariot with four horses
A Roman jewel engraved with a chariot and four running horses was found set in a silver Anglo-Saxon pendant by a metal detectorist.
The small piece of jewellery was found in a field near Kingsey, Buckinghamshire, in May 2019.
Historian Edwin Wood said its "high-status" Sutton Hoo-era owner was someone who would have wanted "a direct link with Rome's power and authority".
It was declared treasure by Buckinghamshire Coroner's Court.
The pendant, which was designed to be worn on its side, still had its suspension loop attached when it was found
The engraved oval dark green stone has bright orange flecks and dates to between the 1st and 3rd Centuries AD.
During the Roman era it was part of a ring and later repurposed as a pendant between AD500 and 700.
Mr Wood, Buckinghamshire's finds liaison officer, said: "It's the Sutton Hoo era - that time when you get very fancy burials.
"And the elite and powerful people in Britain wanted to demonstrate a connection to a wider world.
"Everyone is aware that just beyond Italy is what what we now call the Byzantine Empire, but it is the eastern Roman Empire."
The pierced back meant its owner could hold it up to the light to form a cross
The silver 22.8mm x 14.4mm (0.8in x 0.5in) setting has a pierced back.
Mr Wood said: "If you hold it up to light, the gem will light up through the holes, which form a cross.
"Its owner might also be drawing a connection to a wider, growing Christian world that was effectively replacing the Roman Empire."
He added this was a "really good example of responsible metal detecting" and praised the detectorist for reporting his find.
Discover Bucks Museum is interested in acquiring the pendant.
Saxon pendant with Roman jewel found in Kingsey field - BBC News