Photograph of ET Leeds
Archives and Artefacts
Photograph of ET Leeds beside a trench
Exploring the Past through the Work of E.T. Leeds and A2A



During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a small number of Anglo-Saxon artefacts were found at Abingdon. Then between 1934 and 1935, D.B. Harden and E.T. Leeds excavated a large Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Saxton Road in Abingdon, dating from about AD425 to AD625.

In total 82 cremation and 122 inhumation burials were recovered. A Bronze Age barrow was also discovered on the eastern edge of the cemetery. The size of the cemetery suggests a moderate sized community lived near Abingdon in the early Anglo-Saxon period. The cemetery also contained a mixture of male, female and child burials. Thus it appears a whole community was buried at this site.

Click to see a larger image
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Details of some burials and cremations at Abingdon as recorded by E.T. Leeds
(Click on the images to see a larger version)

Most of the cremations were found contained within pottery urns. Thirty-four of the cremation burials had associated grave-goods, including items such as, bone combs, ivory purse rings, beads and toilet sets. Seventy-three of the inhumations also had grave-goods ranging from brooches, pins, beads and buckles to spears, shield bosses and knives.

Beads from Abingdon grave 78
Tutulus brooch from Abingdon grave 10
Beads and a tutulus brooch found in two graves at Abingdon
(Click on the links below to see more of the finds)

The finds from this excavation are now held by the Ashmolean Museum and Oxfordshire Museums Service who have a display at Abingdon Museum.

See some of the finds from Abingdon


E.T. Leeds and D.B. Harden (1936) The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Abingdon, Berkshire (University of Oxford: Oxford).

A.L. Meaney (1964) A Gazetteer of Anglo-Saxon Burial Sites (London) pp43-44.

H. Peake (1931) The Archaeology of Berkshire (London) p172.

"Notes and News" Oxoniensia VI (1941), p102-103.

A. MacGregor and E. Bolick (1993) A Summary Catalogue of the Anglo-Saxon Collections (Non- Ferrous Metals), BAR British Series 230.

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