Oakington (G-B): Mystery of Anglo-Saxon woman buried with cow

Raymond Brown

Source - http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Home/Mystery-of-rare-600AD-find-25062012.htm


An Anglo-Saxon woman who was at first thought to be buried with a horse was in fact interred alongside a cow, according to archaeologists.

Academics said the find during excavations at a former playground in Oakington was the first time a woman from this period had been discovered buried alongside a domestic animal.

Dr Faye Simpson, one of the archaeologists leading the dig, described the discovery as “hugely exciting”.

She said: “Usually it is warrior men who are discovered buried with their animals. Never before have we found a woman buried alongside a cow. 

“In the 5th century, a cow was a very important to a community’s survival, so to sacrifice one is highly significant and marks her down as having very high status not only in her community, but perhaps in a much wider geographical area.”

Dr Simpson, of Manchester Metropolitan University, said this theory was backed up by the discovery of other luxury items among the remains, including amber beads, three necklaces, and copper alloy brooches.


The woman’s grave was discovered by a student, 19-year-old Kate Smith.

Dr Simpson estimated there may be up to 60 more graves in the cemetery.

Jake Nuttall, a history student who is on the dig, said: “This is a very unusual find and everyone here is very excited by it. It is extremely rare to find this. It’s a very important discovery.”