COUNTY NEWS: Rare Sussex artefact tops national finds list

A rare Anglo-Saxon artefact discovered in Sussex has been picked as one of best national finds of last year.

Thursday, 1st December 2016, 4:24 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 4:12 am
Kathleen Lawther, curator of Littlehampton Museum, Helen Geake, Early Medieval Finds Advisor for the Portable Antiquities Scheme, and Tyndall Jones from Littlehampton with the 7th century escutcheon he discovered. Pictured at the British Museum in London

Last monday, the British Museum in London hosted a presentation of the archeological finds reported in 2015 in England and Wales to the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

Three artefacts were singled out – including one found by metal detectorist Tyndall Jones on farmland in Littlehampton.

Initially dismissed as an antique coffee pot lid, it created waves when it was identified by experts as a rare 7th century escutcheon that ranks among the finest examples ever found.

You could be in possession of an artefact as rare as this Saxon escutcheon found by Tyndall Jones, which is usually on display in Littlehampton museum. Picture: Derek Martin

The artefact would have been mounted on a bowl and used to hold a chain that hung from the ceiling.

Tyndall, 67, was among the guests at the presentation, which included culture minister Matt Hancock, former Time Team archaeologist Helen Geake and curator of Littlehampton Museum Kathleen Lawther.

On Tyndall’s request, the mount is now permantly displayed there after a stint at the British Museum.

He said: “I felt honoured to be invited. I hope my mount puts Littlehampton Museum on the map; it’s a very significant find.”

What made Tyndall’s discovery notable was the use of millefiori glasswork to create swirling patterns. Only 12 others like it that have been found, including the famous Sutton Hoo bowl.

Tyndall’s escutcheon has now been linked to a find in Lincolnshire which is thought to have been made at the same workshop.

Tyndall reported his discovery to Edwin Wood, Sussex Finds Liaison Officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

He said: “It is a fanastic find, well preserved, and the artwork on it is incredible. In my opinion, it is nicer than the Sutton Hoo one.

“For Sussex, it is quite important historically. Despite the fact that Sussex has some of the earliest records, we don’t see many Anglo-Saxon items being found. To get something of this quality is very important. It demonstrates that a very high status individual was in the area during this period.”

Other noteable artefacts were a hoard of 463 silver coin clippings from the late 17th century and a 3,000-year-old solid gold belt.

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