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



In 1974 and 1975, Oxford Archaeological Unit excavated the Wally Corner gravel pit at Berinsfield prior to gravel extraction. The site was first identified from cropmarks on aerial photographs taken by Major Allen in June 1934, although its nature was unknown. In 1960, Oxford University Archaeological Society carried out an excavation in the area and discovered Romano-British ditches dating from the first to fourth centuries. It was not until 1974 that the Anglo-Saxon cemetery was discovered.

A late Neolithic/early Bronze Age barrow and cremation were excavated together with a Roman ditch system. However the main discovery was the 114 burials and 4 cremations dating from the Anglo-Saxon period. It is thought this represents between half and two-thirds of the original size of the cemetery.

From the skeletal remains 30 male and 32 female adults were identified. The burials contained about 70 adults, 9 adolescents and 25 children, with most adults ranging between the ages of 20-45. Some of the graves were arranged in groups, suggesting family or household groups.

Saucer brooch grave 42 - click to see larger image
String of beads grave 83 - click to see larger image
Square headed brooch grave 107 - click to see larger image
Saucer brooch from grave 42 (left), string of beads from grave 83 (middle) and square-headed brooch from grave 107 (right).
(Click on the images to see a larger version)

Most of the burials contained gravegoods including weapons, knives, jewellery, spindlewhorls, buckets and pottery. These finds suggest the cemetery was in use for about 150 years from the early/mid fifth century to the early seventh century.

The cemetery probably served a small community of several households living nearby. The objects found were typical of the sort found in sites along the Upper Thames Valley. Hence this community was probably part of a distinct group of Anglo-Saxons which lived in the area.

The archive and finds from this excavation were deposited with the Ashmolean Museum.

See some of the finds from Berinsfield
Click to see grave 42
Click to see grave 83
Click to see grave 91
Click to see grave 102
Click to see grave 107
Click to see bowl


A. Boyle, A. Dodd, D. Miles and A. Mudd (1995) Two Oxfordshire Anglo-Saxon Cemeteries: Berinsfield and Didcot, Thames Valley Landscapes Monograph 8, Oxford Archaeological Unit.

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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