The Deopham Cross
- Art Funded
- British Museum/Dept. for Culture, Media and Sport
This extremely rare seventh-century jewelled cross is one of only a small number of similar crosses that provide evidence of the conversion of Anglo-Saxon England to Christianity in the decades after the arrival of St Augustine in 597.
The cross was found by a metal detectorist in the parish of Deopham, Norfolk, in 2018. Originally of four equal-length arms, it now has three arms and a small projection where
the fourth is missing. It is made of gold sheet, with decoration in beaded and twisted filigree.
At the centre of the cross and at the tip of each surviving arm is a cabochon garnet set in a gold collet. At the top of the upper arm is a gold loop by which the cross could be worn as a pendant.
Evidence of the use of cross-shaped jewellery in England at this date is extremely limited; this is only the 11th example recorded. Nothing is known about its owner, but the other jewelled crosses of this period are associated with high-status female burials, so it is probable that it belonged to an aristocratic East Anglian woman.
The Deopham Cross joins the outstanding collection of Anglo-Saxon material at Norwich Castle Museum.
The cross was found on 30th December 2018 in Deopham, Norfolk and had been fully recorded on the Portable Antiquities Scheme database as NMS-6E94EA and as Treasure case 2019 T52.