A ‘Marlow warlord’ has recently been discovered by metal detectorists.

The burial, which is on a hilltop in an undisclosed area of the town, potentially dates back to the sixth century, with the ‘warlord’ being a six-foot-tall man, according to archaeologists from the University of Reading.

He was buried alongside several items which included a sword, a decorated scabbard, spears, bronze and glass vessels.

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The discovery was made by metal detectorists Sue and Mick Washington when they came across the site in 2018.

Sue said: “On two earlier visits I had received a large signal from this area which appeared to be deep iron and most likely not to be of interest.

“However, the uncertainty preyed on my mind and on my next trip I just had to investigate, and this proved to be third time lucky!”

Bucks Free Press:

Sue Washington

Sue, who along with other members of the Maidenhead Search Society Metal Detecting Club, had visited the site several times previously, initially unearthed two bronze bowls.

However, after she realised the age and significance of the find, she stopped digging and the club registered the discovery with the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS).

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The PAS Finds Liaison Officer for Buckinghamshire undertook a targeted excavation to recover the discovery and recovered a pair of iron spearheads.

This suggested that the items were likely to be from an Anglo-Saxon grave.

And thanks to their actions, the bowls and spearheads were identified and conserved, and following Sue’s generous donation, they will soon go on display at Buckinghamshire Museum in Aylesbury.

Recognising the importance of the burial and the need for more detailed archaeological investigation, a team led by the Department of Archaeology at the University of Reading carried out a full survey and excavation in August 2020.

Dr Gabor Thomas, a specialist in early medieval archaeology at the University of Reading, said: “We had expected to find some kind of Anglo-Saxon burial, but what we found exceeded all our expectations and provides new insights into this stretch of the Thames in the decades after the collapse of the Roman administration in Britain.

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“This the first burial of its kind found in the mid-Thames basin, which is often overlooked in favour of the Upper Thames and London.

“It suggests that the people living in this region may have been more important than historians previously suspected.

“This guy would have been tall and robust compared to other men at the time, and would have been an imposing figure even today.

"The nature of his burial and the site with views overlooking the Thames suggest he was a respected leader of a local tribe and had probably been a formidable warrior in his own right.”

To see more photos, visit www.reading.hubbub.net/p/marlowwarlord.