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



Asthall barrow was excavated in 1923 and 1924 by G.S. Bowles, under the guidance of E.T. Leeds.

Asthall Barrow in 1923-4

Photograph of Asthall Barrow under excavation in 1923-24

The mound contained a high status cremation burial dating to sometime in the late sixth or early seventh centuries. Leeds originally thought the burial was probably a woman, but re-examination of the finds suggests that the burial is more likely to have contained a man - although this is by no means certain.

Merovingian Bottle Vase (AN1923.769)
Gaming pieces (AN1923.782)
Merovingian bottle jar (AN1923.769) and fragments of bone gaming pieces (AN1923.782)

The burial contained three pottery vessels, imported copper alloy bowls, cauldrons and drinking vessels, bone and antler gaming pieces, mounts for a box, a strap-end, various belt fittings and a decorated gilt bronze mount. All these finds demonstrate this person was wealthy and probably important to the local community.

The finds also demonstrated trading connections existed across Europe at this time, since amongst the finds lists above were a Merovingian bottle jar and fragments of a Byzantine bowl.

The finds from this burial are now held by the Ashmolean Museum.


E.T. Leeds (1924) "An Anglo-Saxon Cremation Burial of the Seventh Century at Asthall Barrow, Oxfordshire" Antiquaries Journal 4, p113-126.

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

T.M. Dickenson & G Speake (1992) "The seventh century cremation burial in Asthall Barrow, Oxfordshire: a reassessment" in The Age of Sutton Hoo: The Seventh Century in North-Western Europe, M Carver (ed.), (Woodbridge), p95-127.

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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