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Conference to hear of Rendlesham 'village of the kings' discoveries

PUBLISHED: 14:45 21 September 2016 | UPDATED: 14:45 21 September 2016

Metal detectorists Terry Marsh, Alan Smith, Roy Damant and Robert Atfield visited the new exhibition of the items found in Suffolk's village of the kings that includes the items they found.

Metal detectorists Terry Marsh, Alan Smith, Roy Damant and Robert Atfield visited the new exhibition of the items found in Suffolk's village of the kings that includes the items they found.

Archant

Experts on Anglo Saxon history will gather this weekend in Suffolk to hear of the latest archaeological discoveries which show the county was home to one of the period’s “largest and richest” settlements.

The finds at Rendlesham – revealed exclusively by the EADT in 2014 – have been hailed as of international importance, and demonstrate that Rendlesham, which is just four miles from the historic Sutton Hoo ship burial site, was an estate centre occupied by individuals of high status.

East Anglian kings would have stayed there, feasted with their followers, administered justice, and collected dues and tribute, and it was the largest and richest settlement of its time known in England.

The one-day conference at The Apex on Saturday will hear how the village can now be identified as the royal place referred to by English monk the Venerable Bede in the 8th Century.

Archaeologists have been working on the site for eight years and have unearthed an extensive settlement surrounding the current site of St Gregory’s Church in Rendlesham.

They believe it was home to burial sites, working areas, a range of residences and the palace where King Raedwald lived. Excavations have uncovered more than 1,000 items.

However, the project team believe many precious items could have been lost before they even got on site after nighthawks – treasure hunters using metal detectors illegally – began looting the fields.

Suffolk County Council’s archaeological service, which carried out the survey of the site with support from the National Trust and The Sutton Hoo Society, authorised four metal detecting enthusiasts – Terry Marsh, Alan Smith, Roy Damant and Robert Atfield – to methodically comb the site at Rendlesham, working as a team to walk every inch of the fields with their equipment.

The team gave 170 man days each year going over the land.

Professor Christopher Scull, of Cardiff University and University College London, said: “The Rendlesham survey has identified a site of national and indeed international importance for the understanding of the Anglo-Saxon elite and their European connections.

“These exceptional discoveries are truly significant in throwing new light on early East Anglia and the origins of Anglo-Saxon kingdom

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