This carving dates from about 850 and was probably the shaft of a cross. It comes from the church of St Mary, Bishophill Junior.
It is very early for a Christian carving in York, but what is particularly unusual is that its subject matter isn't religious at all, but is of ordinary lay-people. They are dressed in shin-length tunics, with fashionable hair-styles, one has a sword and the other a horn at his waist.
Chances are that they are the patrons who paid for the cross to be carved.