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Treasure found near Woodbridge and Sutton Hoo ‘adds to evidence for Rendlesham palace’

Metal detectorists Terry Marsh, Alan Smith, Roy Damant and Robert Atfield at an exhibition of items found in Suffolk's village of the kings, which opened in 2014. Picture: SU ANDERSON

Metal detectorists Terry Marsh, Alan Smith, Roy Damant and Robert Atfield at an exhibition of items found in Suffolk's village of the kings, which opened in 2014. Picture: SU ANDERSON

Treasure discovered at a site near the internationally renowned Sutton Hoo adds to evidence experts have that an Anglo Saxon palace is buried near Rendlesham, archaeologists believe.

A complete cast copper-alloy early medieval strap setting, dating to the late 9th or early 10th Century, was also found at a site near Woodbridge. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCILA complete cast copper-alloy early medieval strap setting, dating to the late 9th or early 10th Century, was also found at a site near Woodbridge. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

Coins, fragments of jewellery and a piece of gold from the 7th Century have been found close to an area experts think was once home to the “village of the kings” – one of the period’s largest and richest settlements.

Senior Suffolk archaeologist Faye Minter said the recent finds dating back to the era – declared as treasure at an inquest last week – build on evidence they already have that a royal settlement, and possibly a palace or hall, existed.

“The finds are all associated with the area, but bear in mind that is over 100 acres,” she explained.

“They are all from the same parish, near Woodbridge and close to the Sutton Hoo site.

An incomplete gold setting, which could be a stud or a pendant, found near Woodbridge. Archaeologists think this could be of Anglo Saxon origin. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCILAn incomplete gold setting, which could be a stud or a pendant, found near Woodbridge. Archaeologists think this could be of Anglo Saxon origin. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

“They add to the evidence we have for the Anglo Saxon royal settlement at Rendlesham.”

Other items discovered at the site near Woodbridge included a silver ingot, which Ms Minter said could date from the Anglo Saxon or Viking periods, and a set of Roman coins.

Also uncovered was an incomplete gold setting – possibly a stud or pendant – which could also be Anglo Saxon.

Revealed exclusively by this newspaper in 2014, previous excavations at Rendlesham were hailed as being of international importance.

A Russian coin found near Woodbridge. Experts believe this dates to the 17th Century. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCILA Russian coin found near Woodbridge. Experts believe this dates to the 17th Century. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

Experts believe East Anglian kings would have stayed there, feasted with their followers, administered justice, and collected dues and tributes.

The “village” is said to be the royal place referred to by English monk the Venerable Bede in the 8th Century.

Archaeologists believe it was home to burial sites, working areas, a range of residences and a palace where King Raedwald lived.

Discoveries from excavations at the site were presented to the public four years ago when an exhibition opened at Sutton Hoo.

Metal detectors found this incomplete, circular gold setting which is thought to date back to the 7th Century. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCILMetal detectors found this incomplete, circular gold setting which is thought to date back to the 7th Century. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

More than 1,000 items are said to have been uncovered to date.

The Rendlesham site is only a few miles from Sutton Hoo, discovered in 1939. After the 2014 finds, Professor Christopher Scull said: “The Rendlesham survey 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.”

Full list of items declared as treasure:

Gold jewellery setting

Silver ingot

Pierced gold Russian kopek coin

Gold jewellery fitting

Five Roman siliquae coins

Roman silver triangular fragment

Roman denarius of Antoninus Pius (part of earlier coin hoard)

Early medieval strap end

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