©Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

Anglo-Saxon: The Alfred jewel, gold, enamel,and rock crystal, 6.2cm long, (max) 3.1cm wide, 1.3cm deep.

The gold frame bears the open work inscription Aelfred mec heht gewyrcan ('Alfred ordered me to be made'), suggesting strongly the association with King Alfred the Great (871-99). The seated figure is thought to represent sight, an allusion which corresponds with the function currently favoured for the jewel - that of terminal or handle for an aestel or pointer for following the text of a manuscript. The jewel was found in 1693 at Newton Park, 4 miles south of Athelney, Somerset, an area associated with Alfred.