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Medieval - From Jack-of-Both-Sides cemetery, Reading

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Right humerus and copper alloy binding plates from the Jack-of-Both-Sides cemetery

In 1890, a medieval cemetery was discovered in a small meadow alongside the King's Road in Reading, near the Jack-of-Both-Sides Inn. The cemetery contained 51 skeletons, and is now thought to have been part of Reading Abbey's leper Hospital of St Mary Magdalen.

This copper alloy brooch was found at a depth of 3ft6in in grave 4, the 'tile tomb'. The grave also contained post-medieval tiles (hence its name) and a single human finger bone – the other bones may have been pillaged at some point in the cemetery's history. In an article for the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Archaeological Journal, Museum curator Dr Joseph Stevens described the brooch as 'a circular bronze brooch-buckle of the Saxon type [...] coarsely wrought, and the loop of the pin was penannular or beaked'. He also illustrated the object in his diary of archaeological finds.

The cemetery contained a range of other objects including an earring, a knife and a bone draughtsman.

Museum object number REDMG : 1934.30.5

length 4.5 cm, width 5 cm, depth 1.5 cm

See related topic: Reading Abbey

See related topic: Reading's Archaeology

See related topic: Story of Reading Gallery