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Anglo Saxon carving found in gardening stones

The Duke’s of Dorchester auction lot for Friday also includes a Roman sarcophagus that was found being used as a planter in Oxfordshire, England.

By Ben Hooper

DORCHESTER, England, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- A British auction house said an Anglo Saxon carving discovered in a $78 pile of gardening stones is expected to sell for about $15,700.

Auctioneer Duke's of Dorchester said landscape gardener John Wyatt bought $78 worth of stone rubble to use for borders and he discovered the 21-inch-by-15-inch Anglo Saxon carving, which experts said dates back to the 10th or 11th century, among the stones.

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"The stones were covered in mud and moss and when I got home I saw what I think was the tail of the dragon on one of them," Wyatt said. "I cleaned it off and realized it was carved. It looked like some of the things you see round here in museums so I contacted a museum and the archaeologists got very excited."

Auctioneer Guy Schwinge said the piece contains Christian imagery including a Celtic cross. "The Anglo-Saxon stone is an important find and the stylistic vocabulary on the cross is indicative of an Anglo-Saxon origin and it probably dates from the 9th or 10th century," he said.

The auction house estimated the piece's value at about $15,700.

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Schwinge said the lot to be auctioned Friday also includes a Roman sarcophagus that had been used for years as a planter in an Oxfordshire, England, garden. The item is believed to date from the 2nd or 3rd century and is expected to sell for up to $40,000.

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