Week 2 (2021) – The Excavations at Rendlesham

two people excavating with tools

Featured image: Volunteers excavating quadrants of a possible Anglo-Saxon hut.

During week 2, we finished opening the remaining trenches with the machine. Before we could excavate the archaeological features, the trenches needed “cleaning”, this involved tidying the edges so they were neat and hoeing to remove any loose soil so that the features could be seen as clearly as possible. They were then planned and photographed before excavation.

We then started excavating the first archaeological features. We had several dark, oblong patches of soil in the first trench, which we suspected were pit-like features and possibly the cellars of Anglo-Saxon huts, sometimes called sunken-featured buildings. Sunken-featured buildings are interpreted as workshops and often associated with craft working such as weaving. Only the pit of the cellar and postholes, if we are lucky, survive today.

We have been carefully excavating the sunken-featured buildings in quadrants and all the soil excavated from them was sieved to recover any smaller objects, like broken bones or pottery sherds, missed during hand excavation. We have found animal bone from horses, cattle and sheep. Sherds of handmade Anglo-Saxon pottery were also recovered, and one volunteer carefully excavated half a pot. One of our expert metal detector users also recovered a copper-alloy brooch.

Once a quadrant is fully excavated it can be recorded and our volunteers have been writing context sheets, drawing the sections and taking photographs for the site archive.

Next week we will continue excavating so keep an eye out for more updates on our blog as the excavation progresses over the next 6 weeks to follow our journey.

Find out more

Read about the Rendlesham Revealed project

Learn about the previous archaeological investigations since 2008

If you are interested in volunteering for the next season of fieldwork, you can join our e-newsletter mailing list to receive updates.


This fieldwork is part of the community archaeology project Rendlesham Revealed: Anglo-Saxon Life in South-East Suffolk, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. We are very grateful to our many local and national partners who have made this project possible, and for the support of the landowners and farmers who work and manage this historic landscape.

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