Gold braid and tangle of gold threads
Late Saxon, mid- to late 9th century
Found during excavations by Winchester Excavations Committee at Cathedral Green in the 1960s
These fragile and fragmented scraps are all that remains of gold-embroidered headgear found on the skull of a man buried at the old Minster in the mid- to late 9th century. In Saxon times, these items were associated with royalty or high ecclesiastical dignitaries, and were sometimes left as valuable bequests to relatives or as gifts to the shrines of saints. That this man took such wealth with him to the grave suggests that he was of the highest status. For more information, see Professor Martin Biddle's (1990) book, Winchester Studies 7.ii, Object and Economy in Medieval Winchester, catalogue number 1012.