Saxon Glass Claw Beaker

Contributed by Aldeburgh Museum

Saxon Glass Claw Beaker

Snape Anglo-Saxon cemetery lies at TM 402593 and is bisected by the A1094 which links Aldeburgh to the A12 in the Sandlings area of East Suffolk. Here in 1862-3, during the first recorded excavations on the site, the landowner, Septimus Davidson and some friends uncovered the imprint of an Anglo-Saxon clinker-built boat, the first ship burial to be found in England. The boat, already robbed, still contained a number of items indicating that this was a burial of the highest status. Notable among them, and right in the bottom of the boat, was a fine gold Germanic finger ring set with a re-used Roman intaglio, and now in the British Museum. There were also the shattered remains of a glass claw beaker.

Today the delicate fragments of glass have been re-assembled upon a mould so that it is possible to see how the original would have appeared. The vessel has been dated broadly to the mid-6th century and must have been the treasured possession of a rich, and possibly royal, family.

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c. 550


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