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Life and death in early medieval Cambridge: Croft Gardens

One of the finds from the Croft Gardens dig, after conservation. © Drakon Heritage

The existence of an early medieval cemetery on Barton Road had been presumed since the nineteenth century, but it was only when existing buildings at Croft Gardens were demolished in the summer of 2020, as part of the College’s project to develop the site, that it became possible to investigate the area archaeologically. More than 60 graves were found, most dating from the early Anglo-Saxon period (c. 400–650 CE), and containing grave goods including bronze brooches, bead necklaces, glass flasks, weapons, and pottery. The findings are unusual in their extent and preservation, and are providing detailed information about the health and diseases of the community, as well as burial habits and dress. New methods can now reveal nutritional and genetic evidence, helping to analyse migration and family relationships and changing ways of life around the ruins of Roman-period Cambridge.


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