Week 4 (2021) – The Excavations at Rendlesham

Featured image: volunteers excavating a sunken-featured building

Throughout week 4 our volunteers continued excavating, recording and sampling the archaeological features and washing, marking and bagging up the finds. For the latter half of the week, we were joined by volunteers from Suffolk Mind.

More Anglo-Saxon pit-like features, are in the process of being excavated, several of which are likely to be sunken-featured buildings as post holes have been found in them. Fragments of animal bone and pottery have been recovered from these, and more unusually two glass beads and a fragment of a glass vessel were also found.

Evidence of Anglo-Saxon weaving has been recovered by the volunteers including several spindle whorls and fragments of loom weights. These would have been used in the process of weaving wool. You can learn more about this in our video “Weaving cloth the Anglo-Saxon way” – Watch the video here .

circular object
spindle whorl

Dr Charly French from University of Cambridge also visited the site to advise us on the samples needed for environmental analysis. Samples were taken from the sides of the trenches, as well as from the sections of the sunken-featured buildings. These will be taken back to the labs in Cambridge for analysis.

We now have a large collection of objects, which have been excavated from the features, so the volunteers have continued to clean, mark, label and bag them so they are organised and ready for specialist analysis.

We have also finished excavating sections through several ditches, which form an enclosure as identified on the geophysical survey. A few sherds of pottery were recovered from the ditches and help date them to the Iron Age.

We have also unexpectedly uncovered some early First World War training trenches, which zig-zag across one of our archaeological trenches. They were probably dug by a battalion in the Territorial Force, who were deployed en masse to the coast, however, no records exist to confirm their presence in the area.

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

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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