Returning to The Excavations at Rendlesham 2022 (Week 1)

digger machinery removing topsoil with staff monitoring

Featured image: Opening the trenches with the machine and using a GPS device to map out the pre-excavation plan

We’re back at Rendlesham this summer for a second season of fieldwork, as part of the Rendlesham Revealed community archaeology project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

This year throughout the summer we will be investigating the area of high-status activity, where there is evidence of a major timber hall and settlement dating from the late 6th and 7th centuries. With a team of volunteers supported by Cotswold Archaeology and Professor Christopher Scull, we will be excavating two trenches targeting different elements on site. The aims are to

  • Ground truth major timber buildings identified on cropmark evidence and geophysical survey results.
  • Date and characterise the surrounding activity – are there other buildings and settlement features?
  • What evidence is there for antecedent 4th to 6th century activity in this area?
  • Establish stratigraphic sequence and date of the linear features.

Work began last week to set up the site and open the trenches. The trenches were laid out and a small team field walked over the top of the trenches to recover objects from the field’s surface before the digger started excavating out the plough soil. The objects included lots of animal bone, some worked flint, some pottery from various periods, which we collected, labelled and located with a GPS. We also set out a grid in preparation to field walk the rest of the field.

Volunteer metal detectorists also surveyed the top of the trenches to recover the metal objects from the plough soil. They found several fragments of lead, and a buckle.

Fieldwalking and Metal detecting over the trenches (left) and buckle found when metal detecting (right)

Once the trenches were open, we could see the archaeological features including the post holes and foundation trenches of a large timber hall, other post holes and pits, several ditches and the remains of a midden (rubbish dump).

A small team of volunteers also conducted a geophysical survey over one of the trenches to see whether the results could pick up any archaeological features underneath the midden.

We’ll be back next week with a team of local volunteers to start cleaning and excavating the archaeological features.

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

Explore last year’s community fieldwork discoveries

Learn about the previous archaeological investigations since 2008

The volunteer spaces for this season are fully booked, however 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 our volunteers and of the landowners and farmers who work and manage this historic landscape.

If you want to get involved with the Rendlesham Revealed project and future fieldwork, you can sign up to our e-newsletter for updates.

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