Anglo-Saxon queen’s long-lost convent has been discovered in Berkshire, according to archaeologists.
ARCHAEOLOGISTS working at Cookham, Berkshire, have discovered the long-lost remnants of an Anglo-Saxon abbey from the eighth century.
The location was discovered this summer by University of Reading scholars and has been attributed to one of the most prominent women from the Early Middle Ages. On the grounds of the Holy Trinity Church at Cookham, on the banks of the Thames, evidence of the 1,300-year-old monastery was discovered. Despite being evident in historical records, the site’s location has remained a mystery until today.
Archaeologists believe Queen Cynethryth, the widow of Mercia’s famed king Offa, previously controlled the abbey (757 to 796 AD).
So far, the researchers have discovered wood structures and artifacts from the monastery’s long-gone occupants.
More crucially, the excavators believe the Anglo-Saxon queen’s remains may be discovered on the site.
“The vanished monastery of Cookham has confounded historians, with a multitude of suggestions put up for its location,” said Dr Gabor Thomas, who is overseeing the dig.
“We set out to find the answer to this riddle once and for all.
“The evidence we’ve uncovered proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Anglo-Saxon monastery stood on a gravel island beside the Thames, currently occupied by the parish church.”
Little is known about life at the abbey, but the newly discovered objects are beginning to throw light on this period of Anglo-Saxon history.
The objects, in particular, have provided the archaeologist with information about how the monastery’s nuns and priests dressed, worked, and ate.
The Cookham monastery was one of a series of Christian outposts erected along the Thames River in Anglo-Saxon England.
The Thames was an important commercial route, and the stretch of river where Cookham is located marked the border between Mercia and Wessex kingdoms.
Food, pottery, and personal artifacts like as bronze bracelets and pins have all been discovered thus far.
Queen Cynethryth’s life and death are equally shrouded in mystery.
She is, however, the only Anglo-Saxon queen consort whose visage has been minted.
Cynethryth was most likely a Frankish nobleman who died around 798 AD.
“Cynethryth is an intriguing figure, a female leader who certainly had actual status and influence in her lifetime,” said Dr. Thomas.
“Not alone were coins made with her image,” says Brinkwire.