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.


Croft Gardens Blog

The finds from Croft Gardens have been integrated with other early medieval archaeology near the river Cam, and Katie Haworth has joined the College as Research Fellow in the Late Roman and Early Medieval Archaeology of Britain, working in collaboration with other local experts to help increase our understanding of a transformative period in history. On this page Katie will provide regular updates on the findings from the excavation and what can be learnt about life and death in Cambridge after the end of the Roman period.

Croft Gardens drone photograph
Post #1 of our blog series charting the findings from the excavation of Croft Gardens and what can be learnt about Cambridge after the end of the Roman period.

Documentary Film

Cambridge After Rome

Documentary made by Ellie Bustin about the excavation of a large and rich early medieval burial ground on King's College’s Croft Gardens site on Barton Road, and what can be learnt about life and death in Cambridge after the end of the Roman

Fellows at King's carry out a huge variety of research, from investigating the origin of the Universe to uncovering the classical world.
Each year, the College holds competitions for Junior Research Fellowships to support gifted young researchers for four years.