Over 400 delegates gathered at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds on Saturday 24 September to hear a series of papers on the recent discoveries at Rendlesham in Suffolk. The site is located four miles from the ship-burial site at Sutton Hoo.
Professor Chris Scull reviewed the range of finds suggesting that it was likely that the archaeological project had identified the Anglo-Saxon royal ‘palace’ of Rendlesham that is known from the historical writings of Bede.
The archaeological survey of the site has identified a 23 m long structure that may have served as the hall in the royal palace. Some 4000 objects have been recovered.
Sir Michael Bunbury, the landowner explained how illegal metal-detecting on his land had brought about the project. A small team of metal-detectorists were invited to catalogue and map small finds from across the site.
One suggestion was that the Deben should be considered to be a royal river with the royal palace, and the royal burial ground at Sutton Hoo. In addition it was proposed that the bishopric of Dummoc was placed at the site of the former Late Roman ‘Saxon Shore’ fort at Walton Castle near Felixstowe.
Professor David Gill, Director of Heritage Futures at the University of Suffolk, said: “The Rendlesham finds are likely to be some of the most important archaeological discoveries in the UK during the early 21st century. The huge interest in the excavations is a reminder that heritage is a vibrant strand in the cultural life of Suffolk and the region.”
The Heritage Futures research unit is developing the Saxon Shore project to interpret the Anglo-Saxons in East Anglia.
The conference was organised by the Sutton Hoo Society, the Council for British Archaeology, and the University of Suffolk. It was sponsored by the National Trust, British Sugar, Suffolk Coast and Heaths, and Suffolk Archaeology.
University of Suffolk Press Office
T: 01473 338476