Corinium Museum, Cirencester; Anglo-Saxons
“Mrs Getty”; the Richest Burial
This display is a reconstruction of the richest grave at Butler’s Field, Lechlade at the time of inhabitant’s burial. It is the grave of a woman, 25-30 years old, whom the archaeologists nicknames “Mrs Getty” because of the wealth and number of her grave goods. The grave dates to the 6th century AD and is one of the richest Anglo-Saxon graves ever found in Britain.
Her face has been forensically reconstructed from the actual skull, so you are looking at the face of a real Anglo-Saxon woman. Her clothes, jewellery and the objects laid around her have been recreated from the evidence that survived. While organic remains such as wood and textile have rotted away, small traces can sometimes be seen ‘fossilised in the corrosion of metal objects. The real objects found in the grave can be seen in the case.
Mrs Getty’s grave is not typical of those at Butler’s Field. It is only one of two in the cemetery to include a wooden coffin, and the stone packing around the coffin may have been to dissuade grave robbers. The sheer number and richness of her objects indicates that she was of high status within the community.
image 1; photograph of the grave in situ
image 2; photograph of the reconstruction
image 3; pair of gilded saucer brooches, ‘great square-headed’ brooch
image 4; copper-ally ‘scutiform’ (or shield-shaped) pendant, pair of spiral finger rings, crystal bead, pair of silver tubes, glass hair beads
image 5; string of miniature glass and gold-in-glass beads, amber bead necklace, pair of blue glass and gold-in-glass beads
image 6; beaver tooth pendant, bone spindle whorl, iron knife
image 7; copper-alloy toilet set, bone comb, iron buckle