From the seventh century AD onwards, the North East of England was a religious melting pot where the rival Celtic and Roman forms of Christianity met and competed for converts. One effect of the fusion of cultures was the flowering of Anglo-Saxon art and learning, centred on the monasteries of Lindisfarne, Monkwearmouth and Jarrow.
The central event in the development of Durham occurred in AD 995 , when the Community of St. Cuthbert, fleeing from Viking raids, brought the body of their saint to Durham. On the rocky outcrop, protected by the River Wear below, they built a wooden church (later to be replaced by a stone church and then the cathedral, founded in 1093 AD). Durham's future was assured as a major pilgrimage centre. Highlights of the Museum’s small but important Anglo-Saxon collection include fragments of finely carved stone crosses,and jewellery in both bronze and jet.