As part of his job our Collections Manager, Craig Bowen, often transports fascinating historical artefacts between our stores and museums. In the past these have included items such as Zulu spears, priceless pendants, machine guns and a mummified cat. We’d like to bring you an exclusive sneak peek at some of these items before they go on display.
This week Craig has been carrying…an Anglo Saxon Pendant.
Dating from the 6th or 7th Century AD, this openwork circular gold pendant is a fine example of its kind and was used on many items of clothing and jewellery during the Early-Anglo-Saxon period.
Measuring only a few centimetres in length with a spiral pattern at its centre known as a tetraskele, this small pendant was found locally by a metal detectorist near Manston in Kent. It was later purchased through the Portable antiquities scheme by the Friends of Canterbury Museums and will shortly go on display at the Beaney.
Kent has a rich array of Anglo- Saxon finds dating from the fifth to the eighth centuries. During this time Kent was an independent, wealthy kingdom with continental connections. At first it was a pagan warrior society but in 597 St Augustine was sent by Pope Gregory to bring Christianity to England, and was welcomed in Canterbury by King Ethelbert and his Frankish Queen, Bertha. The Kingdom of Kent was distinguished for outstanding craftsmanship in jewellery, metalwork and glass.
Alongside the pendant The Beaney houses many examples of such craftsmanship in its collections, such as this Silver disc brooch, set with garnets and decorated with cloisonné work and gold wire filigree. This beautiful piece was found at Kings Field, Faversham by John Brent (1808 – 1882), a humanitarian activists, author and antiquarian who was honorary curator of Canterbury Museum.