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18 June 2014
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Legacies - Kent

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Immigration and Emigration
Evidence of the Jutes

It is also thought that the Jutes settled in the Isle of Wight.
Ever since reading Bede, archaeologists researching the immigration of Continental people to Britain after the Roman retreat of the early 5th Century have looked for a Jutish presence in the archaeological remains of 5th and 6th Century Kent. Most of the relevant finds come from furnished graves with distinctive links to the Continent.

These include pots and urns and especially brooches, an important element of female dress that functioned as a fastener, rather like a modern safety pin. The style of 5th Century Kentish pottery and brooches suggests that the immigrants came from different peoples of the North Sea coast, including Frisians, Angles, Saxons, Franks and Scandinavians.

Precious remains give invaluable clues.
© Canterbury Archaeological Trust Ltd
In the 6th Century some exceptionally rich female jewellery is closely comparable with Scandinavian objects. Square-headed brooches found in Kent are decorated in an animal style that is widely found in Scandinavia. Several rich female graves in eastern Kentish cemeteries have yielded beautiful gold bracteates.

Bracteates are circular goldfoil pendants stamped with an image and worn as amulets Bracteates have a loop of gold on the edge and were worn on necklaces. Kentish gold bracteates are exceptional finds not least because they are costly items, showing remarkable workmanship and imagery. Close analysis of Scandinavian and Kentish bracteates helps to illuminate why Bede records the Jutes in England.

Words: Charlotte Behr

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Saxons and Jutes of Southern England
The English in Great Britain
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Canterbury Archeological Trust
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