Archaeologists have made a once in a lifetime discovery in Northamptonshire, England.
“When the first glints of gold started to emerge from the soil we knew this was something significant,” Levente-Bence Balázs, a site supervisor at the Museum of London Archaeology and leader of the dig, told BBC News. “However, we didn’t quite realize how special this was going to be.”
The archaeologists had discovered an early medieval grave - and while most of the skeleton had decomposed, an ornate 30-piece gold necklace remained. Dating to around 630 to 670 C.E. it was made up of Roman coins, gold, garnets, painted glass and semiprecious stones; a large cross pendant was at its centre.
The find, as the Washington Post put it, is “being hailed as the most significant female burial site from the era discovered in Britain.”
Because of the necklace’s presence, the researchers think the grave belonged to a woman -and not just any woman. According to the Guardian, experts think that the necklace’s owner was “one of the first women in Britain ever to reach a high position in the church.”
Due to the extravagant artifacts, experts think their owner was a woman of great wealth as well as a religious figure - “both an abbess and a princess, perhaps,” writes the Guardian.
After the researchers finish their analysis, the artifacts will go on display at a local museum.