Archaeologists believe they have discovered the original site of Sutton Hoo’s famous treasure

Archaeologists at Rendlesham have excavated a seventh-century workshop that may have housed the craftsmen making the Sutton Hoo artifacts, considered the largest archaeological find in British history.

One of Britain’s greatest archaeological discoveries is in the news again. Indeed, archaeologists claim to have excavated the Anglo-Saxon workshop where archaeological fragments (dating from the 7th century) were found at Sutton Hoo. A recent discovery from a workshop at Rendlesham, only 3 miles from the historic site and close to the English coast, proves that the artifacts already discovered in the British Cemetery are the result of local artisanal activity, challenging some historical beliefs. Gives. Under the patronage of Suffolk County Council and the Archaeological Service of the Cotswold Archaeology, archaeologists and student volunteers participated in these excavations during the summer of 2021.

a graveyard rising from the ground

Located on the east coast of Great Britain, in the county of Suffolk and close to Woodbridge, the archaeological site of Sutton Hoo is one of England’s most iconic. It was originally a cemetery with about 15 burial mounds and 30 graves. The site has been the subject of three excavations: one between 1938 and 1939, another from 1965 to 1971, and the last from 1983 to 2001. The first discovery in 1939 is also the subject of a book, dig up by John Preston (2007), and a Netflix film of the same name released in 2020. The more than 26 meters long tomb boat, discovered during the first excavation in 1938, is one of the most impressive finds of the place. Various excavations were very conclusive: many artifacts such as weapons, jewelry and quality utensils were discovered. Elements that inform us of the taste, techniques of the population living at the site between the 5th and 8th centuries AD. While the Anglo-Saxons were initially portrayed as barbarian invaders, they show themselves here as men and women capable of refinement and beauty. Apart from the aesthetic aspect, this discovery also tells us about the material used (iron, copper alloys) and the place (local) of the craft.

Excavation of the Sutton Hoo Funeral Ship, 1939 © Harold John Phillips

A collective and educational project

Led by the Archaeological Service of Suffolk County Council and the Cotswold Archaeology, the work is part of a four-year project funded by a grant of £517,000 (approximately €619,000) from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. This summer saw six weeks of collaborative work by 150 volunteers, including experts and local elementary school children. The excavation of the blanks and the clearing of the ground made it possible to find objects in copper alloys such as pottery, glass, weaving tools, pins and buckles … Some details are not mistaken: such as the discovery of a Roman coin with a hole. , which suggests that it was made into an Anglo-Saxon jewel. These elements enrich the historical knowledge of the local population dating back 1400 years. A royal establishment was actually located at Rendlesham at this time. Christoph Schull, the project’s chief academic advisor, believes that the discovery tells us about the lives of the people whose agriculture and craftsmanship played an important role in the development of the Kingdom of East Anglia from the 5th to the 8th centuries AD.

Volunteers at Rendlesham Primary School with Professor Tom Williamson during an excavation at Rendlesham.  © Suffolk County Council

Volunteers at Rendlesham Primary School with Professor Tom Williamson during an excavation at Rendlesham. © Suffolk County Council

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