The Excavations at Rendlesham 2022 (Week 6)

group of school children

Featured image: On-site with Rendlesham Primary School and Kendra the Anglo-Saxon forager

Week 6 was a busy one and our volunteers included local school children and a third group of volunteers from Suffolk Mind, as well as members of the general public. Everyone worked together with much enthusiasm to continue to excavate and record the archaeology.

This week over three days, we welcomed 48 children to site from the Year 4 class of Rendlesham Primary School. We all enjoyed a daily visit from Kendra the Anglo-Saxon forager, who helped the children understand the types of materials and objects that could survive in the ground for 1,400 years.

The children started the excavation of a large pit or possible sunken-featured building. Large sherds of handmade pottery and animal bone were found in this feature, including a pig fibula bone, which may have been used as a pin or awl or is possibly an unfinished bone needle. Both pierced and unpierced pig fibulas have been found in some of the sunken-featured buildings at West Stow.

needle shaped object on white background
pig fibula bone found in sunken featured building

The children also helped to sample and excavate some of the second squares of the rubbish dump.

In the finds processing tent, the children enjoyed a finds handling session and washed some excavated objects.

Each afternoon, the children were also taught how to fieldwalk.

Professor Charles French (Senior Fellow, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge) visited the site to take additional environmental samples from the rubbish dump, which may tell us more about its formation.

two people kneeling in trench taking samples
Professor Charles French (Senior Fellow, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge) and Bethan Morgan (Site Assistant, Cotswold Archaeology) taking samples of the rubbish dump

The recording of the postholes and foundations of the large timber hall is going well, with most of the sections now drawn and context sheets completed by volunteers.

two people in trench measuring
Volunteer recording a post hole, with supervision from a Mentor volunteer © Graham Allen / Suffolk County Council 

On Saturday, we were joined by 16 volunteers and staff from Suffolk Mind, from all over the county, who joined in with the excavation and finds processing. Including starting the final sunken-featured building.

We had a very interesting lunchtime talk from John Hines about his work on a 6th century site in Eriswell, in the west of the county, and it was also a real treat to have Gemma on site playing her lyre.

We also hosted several group visits this week for partners and stakeholders associated with the Rendlesham Revealed project; including the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History, the Sutton Hoo Society, the Suffolk Police Rural Crime Team, and early medieval academics.

We now only have one more week to go and so we will be making sure that all the archaeology is fully excavated and recorded. Keep an eye out next week for our last blog before we fill in the trenches.

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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