Week 3 (2021) – The Excavations at Rendlesham

black tray containing lots of objects

Featured image: animal bone and pottery which have been excavated from Rendlesham

In week 3 our volunteers worked hard to continue excavating the archaeological features. They included 8 young volunteers from Suffolk Family Carers, aged 14-17. Throughout the week they all learnt how to excavate the archaeology, wash and process the finds.

We also gridded out a field for fieldwalking, which involves systematically collecting archaeological material from the surface of a ploughed field, to try and identify past concentrations of activity through time. The Norfolk Museums Service Conservation Team also visited the site to teach us about the conservation of archaeological objects in the field.

Throughout the week, the volunteers continued to systematically excavate the pits and sunken-featured buildings in quadrants and completed the associated recording.

We are now building up a broader picture of past activity at the site through the finds assemblage. There is more and more evidence of every day activity, including animal bones, indicating the type of food that was being eaten, several spindle whorls and a loom weight, which demonstrate processes associated with weaving, and melted metal fragments which suggest metal working.

young person smiling holding a large fragment of pottery
This volunteer from Suffolk Family Carers was very excited to excavate this large fragment of Anglo-Saxon pottery

We are also getting hints of an earlier period of landscape use. A prehistoric ditch has been excavated which appears to be cut by two Anglo-Saxon features, and we have recovered residual prehistoric pottery and worked flints from some of the features.

Roman pottery, including samien ware, has been found and there are fragments of Roman brick and tile being recovered across the site in many of the Anglo-Saxon features, suggesting both a Roman presence in the area and the probable re-use of Roman material by the Anglo-Saxons.

Keep an eye out next week for more updates on our blog as the excavation progresses.

fragments of orange brick placed on newspaper
fragments of brick and tile from the site

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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