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CHER Number:02104
Type of record:Monument
Name:Cratendune

Summary - not yet available

Grid Reference:TL 522 779
Parish:Ely, East Cambridgeshire, Cambridgeshire

Monument Type(s):

Associated Finds:

  • BEAD (Early Saxon - 410 AD to 650 AD)
  • BROOCH (Early Saxon to Middle Saxon - 410 AD to 700 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Early Saxon to Middle Saxon - 410 AD to 700 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Early Saxon to Middle Saxon - 410 AD to 700 AD)
  • GIRDLE HANGER (Early Saxon to Middle Saxon - 410 AD to 700 AD)
  • KNIFE (Early Saxon to Middle Saxon - 410 AD to 700 AD)
  • SHERD (Early Saxon to Middle Saxon - 410 AD to 700 AD)
  • SPEAR (Early Saxon to Middle Saxon - 410 AD to 700 AD)
  • SWORD (Early Saxon to Middle Saxon - 410 AD to 700 AD)

Full description

1. In 1947 whilst levelling off an aerodrome at 5222' 33" N, 0+ 14' 15" E, a bulldozer revealed about 30 graves, which had originally been about 3ft deep, and which had no particular orientation. Pagan AS grave goods accompanied the burials. Mr. TC Lethbridge, MA, FSA, states that the finds are of a type normal to pagan AS cemeteries of about the period AD 450-650. The skeletons from the S or uphill side of the cemetery had no grave goods with them as far as the writer could see. The finds, which are in the CAAM include:- iron sword; brooches, 2 poss C5 and 1 prob C7; amber beads, prob C6; 2 fragmentary spear-heads; iron and bronze buckles; a knife and a bronze girdle hanger.

2. It is evident that the skeletons were only a part of a larger mass; the confused manner in which they lay seems to suggest the massacre of the inhabitants of the village. A complete excavation of the site would probably yield very important results. (See Cambs 30NW 03 for site of DA village of Cratendune.)

3. It was reported that the driver of the bulldozer returned the objects he had picked up, after suffering two accidents when here started the bulldozer, "to placate the dead". A skull was found with a dagger still sticking in it. When the site was later visited the beads and bits of bronze were widely scattered as a result. The graves on the S side of the cemetery appeared to have no grave goods. From the N part objects came from c 30 graves altogether. The site has been identified as the cemetery for the pre-Ely village of Cratendune. Meaney gives grid ref TL/522-/777-.

S1. 3 sherds of shell-tempered pottery found near AS cemetery site at Cratendune. 6 beads from an AS burial in the cemetery; 1 is of blue glass and pumpkin-shaped, 4 are of polished ? amber.


<1> Fowler, G., 1948, Cratendune: a Problem of the Dark Ages. PCAS 41: 70-3 (Article in serial). SCB10621.


<2> Murray, M. and Garrood, J. R., 1955, Archaeological Notes. PCAS 48: 47-9, p. 48 - 49 (Article in serial). SCB7621.


<3> Meaney, A., 1964, A Gazetteer of Early Anglo-Saxon Burial Sites, p. 64 (Bibliographic reference). SCB191.

Sources and further reading

<1>Article in serial: Fowler, G.. 1948. Cratendune: a Problem of the Dark Ages. PCAS 41: 70-3.
<2>Article in serial: Murray, M. and Garrood, J. R.. 1955. Archaeological Notes. PCAS 48: 47-9. p. 48 - 49.
<3>Bibliographic reference: Meaney, A.. 1964. A Gazetteer of Early Anglo-Saxon Burial Sites. p. 64.