Sutton hoo

From Cleopatra to Elizabeth Taylor, women have found jewels irresistible

When workmen demolished an ancient building in Cheapside in 1912 they saw something glinting out of a broken wooden box. They had stumbled on what became known as the Cheapside Hoard – a collection of jewels dating from around 1600, its star, the Cheapside Emerald, a wonderful stone holding a miniature watch. It came from Colombia, still the source of the world’s finest emeralds, probably the world’s most ancient gems. The first recorded instance of them is on an Egyptian papyrus around 2400 BC. Their beauty and rarity made them the favourite of the élite, with Cleopatra probably their most famous fan. The Rockefeller Emerald fetched $5.5 million in 2017.

George Osborne: Why I’m going into banking

Spring in Somerset — again. If someone had told me last February that I’d spend seven of the next 12 months here, I’d have explained that was impossible: I’ve always been a city boy. Three lockdowns later, and we’ve bought a home here. I love it. Snow, then snowdrops, now daffodils — and the wild garlic is coming up in the woods. Covid has converted me to the countryside. Bruton Place in Mayfair? Not for now. Bruton itself? Yes. There’s a Bruton Set, of course. They spend a lot of the time explaining why they didn’t want to be part of the Chipping Norton Set. I’ve met one of my

Remarkably moving: The Dig reviewed

Just before the outbreak of the second world war a discovery was made in a riverside field at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk. It was an immense buried boat, dating from the 7th century, and it yielded gilded treasure after gilded treasure, thereby wholly changing our understanding of the Dark Ages. ‘They weren’t dark… by Jupiter!’ as one archaeologist puts it here. It is a fascinating story that could have been told as a full-on thriller. But instead the film employs a delicious, graceful restraint, paying as much attention to deeply buried feeling as to what’s buried deeply in the earth. It’s remarkably moving. By Jupiter, I even cried by the

Beyond The Dig: is there more buried treasure in Suffolk?

Where is England’s ‘valley of the kings’? You’d be forgiven for not knowing. The Anglo-Saxon monarchs buried there are, like much of the rest of that period, little more than a footnote in the crash course in history you get at school.  When the Romans headed home in the fourth century, it’s often thought that not much happened in Britain for a few hundred years. If those who took the road back to Rome were cultured and civilised, the people they left behind were, well, anything but. But a new film by Netflix on the Anglo-Saxon treasure unearthed at Sutton Hoo puts paid to the idea that the Romans’ successors