Mystery of The Anglo-Saxon Stone Carving

On February 2015, a stone with unusual carvings was sold as a garden ornament. The stone which plucked from a garden in Leicester was purchased by James Balme, an archaeologist also a television presenter. He believes the intricate pattern was probably carved in Anglo Saxon times, over 1,000 years ago.

When he was done conserving it, Balme saw a stone carving with an extremely complex pattern that is difficult to describe. It could contain a hidden message. It's possible the "pattern carved may be some form of writing," Balme told Live Science in an email. The carving's use is unknown, though it could be "a keystone from an archway or indeed a vaulted ceiling," Balme said.
This stone carving was discovered by James Balme in a garden in Leicester, England
(Credit: James Balme)

At the time it was dirty, covered in moss and a lot of the carved pattern was not clearly visible.
When Mr. Balme finally received the stone he said that he was shocked as it seemed far more important than he had first thought - and after gentle cleaning the true extent of the carving became clear.

It weighs around 60lbs (27kg) and is wider at the base than at the top. Mr. Balme suggested that the stone could be the base of a cross or a tombstone. The hand-carved rock is 18 inches (46cm) tall and 5.5 inches (14cm) thick.

Mr Balme believes the stone dates to the Anglo-Saxon period, which stretched between 410 and 1066AD. The period is known for its intricate patterns, which appeared on buildings and jewellery, for example, as well as written literature such as the poem Beowulf.

Although an Anglo-Saxon date for the stone carving is a distinct possibility, Balme cannot be certain. Questions also remain as to what exactly the carving was used for and whether the pattern may represent some form of writing.


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