Metal Detector Users Uncover an Anglo-Saxon Warlord

When going out for a hike with their metal detectors handy in 2018, the hobbyists, Sue and Mike Washington, certainly didn’t expect to come across such a valuable find. As their detectors detected iron underground, they retrieved two bronze bowls from underground and reported them to the Portable Antiquities Scheme. Archeologists were then sent to the site where they unearthed what will come to be known as an Anglo-Saxon warlord.

The Marlow Warlord remains
Metal Detector Users Uncover an Anglo-Saxon Warlord
The Marlow Warlord

As the skeletal remains were found in Marlow, a town near Berkshire, the remains were therefore dubbed the “Marlow Warlord”. Archeologists believe that this was a sixth-century man that stood about 6 feet tall in a time when the average height for males in the region was around 5 feet 7 inches. The excavations were led by an archeologist from the University of Reading, Gabor Thomas. He claims that the discovery sheds new light on regional politics of the time. It indicates that his area had greater importance than historians thought and was ruled by powerful Anglo-Saxon groups and high-status leaders.

The excavation site
Metal Detector Users Uncover an Anglo-Saxon Warlord
What Was Uncovered

The numerous valuables that were found with the skeletal remains are an indication of his status and importance in life. Besides the two bronze bowls that were reported by Sue and Mark Washington to the PAS run by the British Museum and the National Museum of Wales, Archeologists started investigating the area and found other important items. These included a pair of iron spearheads, a glass vessel, and an iron sword.

Iron sword
Metal Detector Users Uncover an Anglo-Saxon Warlord
The sword was held in a decorated scabbard that was originally made of bronze, leather, and wood. The corrosion of the word protected the leather from decomposition, which is why there are remnants of it left. Funding is being raised to test the leather for genetic material that will help date the finds more precisely. This discovery leads historians and archeologists to the conclusion that there was an autonomous Anglo-Saxon tribe in this area, which was believed to be an empty border between the kingdoms of Wessex and Kent.