Thanks to grants from the Street Fair and MATCH and all the personal donations the pendant has now been acquired by the Dorset Museum, and they have released the story to the press, e.g. Daily Telegraph 10 Mar p2.
On Wednesday 8 March the donors were invited by the museum to see the pendant and hear more about this unique and very high status 22 carat gold and rock crystal jewel of the Anglo-Saxon period. The dedicated staff at the Museum have been extremely generous with their time and effort, giving presentations to our group and inviting donors to the unveiling of the pendant. They have freely shared their expertise and knowledge. This meeting was in the John White Learning Centre at the museum. It was good to meet the finder who told us of his feelings as he dug up the find of a lifetime, and to hear from the director of the museum, the finds liaison officer and the archaeologist..This adds enormously to our knowledge of the history of this amazing place, but as is usual with such finds, there are many more questions than answers, although the design and artistry is of 6th to 7th century date where did it come from before it was laid to rest (or dropped) in Milton Abbas? Where was it made? Where did the rock crystal come from? The gold? Was the cross motif a deliberate Christian symbol?
As far as we know this is the only surviving Anglo-Saxon object from Milton Abbas, the only other object was a piece of carved stonework on display in the Abbey Church but now missing, presumed stolen. Of course we know that King Athelstan granted land to Milton Abbey in 934 and a monastery was built here, but there are no surviving remains of that. St Catherine’s Chapel was built in the late 12th century.
It was good to see that the many donors were mostly from Milton Abbas and mostly history group members.