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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 November 2007, 18:49 GMT
'Dramatic' ancient cemetery found
Anglo-Saxon jewellery found near Redcar
The artefacts will be valued by the British Museum
A freelance archaeologist has uncovered what is thought to be the only known Anglo-Saxon royal burial site in the north of England.

Spectacular gold jewellery, weapons and clothing were found at the 109-grave cemetery, believed to date from the middle of the 7th Century.

Excavations were carried out after Steve Sherlock studied an aerial photo of the land near Redcar, Teesside.

Traditionally, Anglo-Saxon royalty were buried in the south, say experts.

The royals found near Redcar could be linked to the Kentish Princess Ethelburga who travelled north to marry Edwin, King of Northumbria.

Excavations began in 2005 and continued under Mr Sherlock's supervision with help from local archaeologists and volunteers.

After working six weeks every summer, the team has uncovered an area the size of half a football pitch near Loftus.

Gold brooch

Mr Sherlock, an archaeologist since 1979, said: "Whilst human bone does not survive because of the acidic soils, a range of high status jewellery was found, including glass beads, pottery, iron knives and belt buckles.

"Five of the graves had gold and silver brooches and a further burial had a seax, a type of Anglo-Saxon sword."

One of the graves also contained a gold brooch "unparalleled" in Anglo-Saxon England, he added.

The Teesside coroner will now carry out an inquest to confirm the find can be defined as "treasure".

The artefacts will then be valued by a panel of experts from the British Museum.

Tees Archaeology officer Robin Daniels said: "This is the only known Anglo-Saxon royal burial site in the North of England.

"It is the most dramatic find of Anglo-Saxon material for generations."

Some of the artefacts from the burial site

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