This ring was unearthed in 2009 by a metal detectorist in Escrick, Yorkshire. Though originally believed to be much later, the ring is now believed to have been made in the 5th to 6th centuries. A workshop in York suggested that the ring had continental origins and probably belonged to a king or royal consort.
The ring is composed of gold, glass, and sapphire. It was purchased for £35,000 by the Yorkshire Museum. The main part of the ring may have belonged to a brooch or other ornament before being mounted to the hoop. It is possible that the sapphire has Roman origins and that the mount was created much later. Further investigation of the ring is planned.
- “Escrick sapphire ring’s mystery history sparks meeting“, BBC News, 25 Jan 2013
- “Escrick sapphire ring’s mystery history sparks meeting“, Archaelogical News, 29 Jan 2013
- “The Ring is Royal?“, Yorkshire Museum, 20 Mar 2013
In May 2008, construction of a mixed retail-residential development called “The Meads” commenced in an area known to have been scraped clear by Victorian brick-clay diggers. It was believed that any artifacts or graves would have been found then, 100+ years ago despite aerial photography in 1982 that showed evidence of large ring ditches on the site. A watching brief was placed on the construction site by the Canterbury Archaeological Trust. Not only were prehistoric rings discovered, but a major Anglo-Saxon cemetery dating from the mid-6th to the late 7th century.
Prehistoric ring ditch
Archaeologists and volunteers from surrounding communities, working with the Canterbury Archaeological Trust and Sittingbourne Heritage Museum discovered hundreds of Anglo-Saxon graves and thousands of relics (e.g., jewelry, buckles, garnet brooches, sword mounts, pots, jars, glass drinking horns) reminiscent of the Staffordshire Hoard.
Glass drinking horns from Grave 184
After two years of excavation, work on The Meads site ended in 2011 due to a lack of funds. Many finds were left embedded in soil blocks and others will be moved to storage for future examination.
- “Town’s past recovered from graves“, BBC News, 2009-09-16
- “How Sittingbourne discovered an archaeological treasure trove“, The Guardian, 2010-08-15
- “CSI Sittingbourne archaeology project closes“, BBC News, Kent, 2011-09-22
- “Saxon Sittingbourne“, Sittingbourne Heritage Museum
- “A Prehistoric and Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at the Meads, Sittingbourne“, Canterbury Archaeological Trust
- “Sittingbourne Excavation“, Flickr