The provision of grave goods

The grave goods are fairly typical of Anglo-Saxon cemeteries in Wessex. A range of weapon types is present and the jewellery is predominantly Saxon in character. The humble knife is the most common object, closely followed by the buckle. Many buckles are simple iron loops, but an exception is the rare iron kidney-shaped buckle with rectangular cellwork plate. It is significant that two of the other three known examples (from graves) come from Wiltshire (Petersfinger and Pewsey). Does this indicate an origin for this type in the county?
 

Weapons

Twelve weapon burials have been found. There are no particularly elaborate assemblages. In contrast to both Petersfinger and Pewsey no sword/shield/spear combinations were found. If burial wealth is a measure of social complexity, then the evidence might suggest that Collingbourne Ducis' male population was ranked more evenly.
Cemetery
SP
SP/SH
SH
SW
SW/SH
SW/SH/SP
SW/SH/SP/AX
SE
AX
Collingbourne Ducis (all yrs)
** • • • • 
• • •
 
 
 
 
Charlton Plantation
• • •
• •
 
 
 
 
 
 
Harnham Hill
• • • •
• •
 
 
 
 
 
 
Market Lavington
• • • • • •
• • • •
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Petersfinger
• • • • • •
• • • • •
 
 
 
• •
 
 
Pewsey
• • • •
• • • • • • • • 
• •
 
 
Table 2: Weapon combinations across the Wiltshire sample (• at Collingbourne Ducis = 1974 excavation; * = 2007) SP (spear), SH (shield), SW (sword), SE (seax) & AX (axe)
 
Most of the weapon types can be paralleled locally, e.g. the leaf-shaped and angular concave-sided spearheads, although there are other types that are much rare in the county. The same applies to the shield bosses.
 

Jewellery

Overall 24 inhumations contained jewellery, mainly brooches, and the range is again typical for southern England, especially the Saxon area.
Pair of saucer brooches from G 1348
Pair of saucer brooches from Grave 1348. Click to enlarge.
Cemetery
Annular
Applied
Button
Disc
Equal-armed
Keystone garnet
Penannular
Saucer
Square-headed
Small-long
other
Collingbourne Ducis (2007)
 
 
?•
 
Collingbourne Ducis (1974)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Charlton Plantation
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Harnham Hill
 
 
 
Petersfinger
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pewsey
 
 
Table 3: Brooch types found in the sample of Wiltshire cemeteries
 
A relatively large number of small long-brooches (n=8) were found in 2007. Usually considered an Anglian type, they have recently been found in greater numbers south of the Thames. An up-to-date study might reveal the presence of sub-groups that are regionally diagnostic, and it is notable that most Collingbourne examples are best paralleled in other Wiltshire cemeteries.
 
Other rare brooch types include a pair of unusual bow or equal-armed brooches and a small group of penannular brooches. An important discovery was a rare gilded ‘face brooch' decorated in Style 1 animal art. No exact parallels have so far been found, although a pair of roughly similar brooches was found in the Upper Thames Valley in Grave 136 at Lechlade, Gloucestershire.
 Pair of saucer brooches from G 1348
Fig 3: Bow/equal armed brooches from G1100
Face brooch from G1340
Fig 4: Face brooch from G1340
 
A 'keystone' disc brooch of the earlier 7th century, decorated with red garnet and Style 1 animal art, represents Kentish influence.

Disc brooch, found unstratified but it probably came from a disturbed grave

Disc brooch, found unstratified but probably from a disturbed grave
 
Overall the material culture reflects the Saxon identity of this community. Most of the metalwork can be paralleled in other Wiltshire sites, although certain brooches and weapon types demonstrate links with surrounding Saxon areas, especially the Upper Thames Valley. The relative rarity of Anglian and Kentish material indicates that this was a community had only limited long distance connections.