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 1864 and 1865 several Anglo-Saxon graves were found by labourers quarrying for stone on Frilford Heath. The finds included spearheads, a shield boss, fragments of brooches, a bucket and some Roman objects. J.Y. Akerman investigated the site and found 38 graves, although not all of them were recorded. He identifed at least 3 Anglo-Saxon graves from their associated grave goods. Many others were found without grave goods so these could have been either Anglo-Saxon or Romano-British.

George Rolleston excavated an additional 123 graves in 1867-68, ten of which were Anglo-Saxon cremations. In 1869-70 a further 4 probable Anglo-Saxon graves were discovered. The finds and skeletons from these four graves were given to Cornell University in the United States.

Leeds and others excavating at Frilford

Graves exposed in the face of the quarry at Frilford, as Leeds found it in 1910.

E.T. Leeds and D Buxton excavated a single female Anglo-Saxon burial in the north corner of the quarry. In this grave they found a pair of applied brooches, a string of beads, 2 Roman coins, a nail and some sherds of pottery.

In 1920 the Oxford University Archaeological Society under the direction of D Buxton excavated a further 40 Romano-British and 5 Anglo-Saxon graves: one male, two females and one child.

From the artefacts discovered this cemetery can be dated from the late Roman period to the end of the sixth century. This cemetery demonstrates that a community continued to live in this area from the Roman period into the early Anglo-Saxon period.

Skeleton found in isoloated burial at Frilford

Burial found at Noah's Ark, Frilford in 1937
(Click to HERE see original document)

A further isolated Anglo-Saxon grave was excavated at the Romano-Celtic temple site in Noah's Ark Field in 1937. This grave contained a male inhumation burial with a seax and knife. The burial appears to date from the seventh or eighth centuries. The date and location of this burial suggests it was probably not part of the larger cemetery.

The finds from many of these graves are now held in the Ashmolean Museum.

See some of the finds from Frilford


L H D Buxton (1921) "Excavations at Frilford", Antiquaries Journal I, 87-97.

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

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

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