From The Vaults

Fentons Farm – Roman life and death in Sicklesmere

Featured Image: archaeologists cleaning and recording burials on-site at Fentons Farm © Archaeology Solutions Ltd now Wardell Armstrong In 2017, archaeological excavations in Sicklesmere in the parish of Gt Whelnetham recorded an important and unusual Roman cemetery. The excavation site known as Fentons Farm is located to the south of the known Roman settlement at…

Erskine Lodge – Roman life and death in Sicklesmere

Featured Image: an enamelled cockerel brooch c.1st-2nd century recovered from a deliberate deposition layer within a former river channel © Allen Archaeology In 2018, archaeological excavations in Sicklesmere in the parish of Gt Whelnetham recorded evidence for significant Roman activity. The excavation site known as Erskine Lodge, is located at the western end of the…

A brief history of the Suffolk Historic Environment Record

Featured Image: SSMR Index Card used when the HER was a paper-based system. Over the past few weeks, the Historic Environment Record (HER) team have been going through the vast HER archive, revealing interesting facts on how the HER developed. The Suffolk HER originally started off as the Suffolk Sites and Monuments Record (SSMR). This…

Iron Age and Anglo-Saxon settlement, Mildenhall Hub

Featured Image: Archaeologists at work, excavating Iron Age pits at the Mildenhall Hub site. © Cotswold Archaeology From 2016 to 2018, Cotswold Archaeology undertook a series of excavations ahead of the development of the Mildenhall Hub, now at Recreation Way. They have shown that the site, at the southwest edge of the town, was settled…

Roman Pottery Production, Lavenham

Featured Image: The upper vessels in the firing chamber of the Roman kiln © Archaeological Solutions ( now Wardell Armstrong) In 2019, archaeological excavation on the edge of Lavenham at Bears Lane revealed evidence of two phases of Roman activity dating from the 1st to 3rd Century AD, including well preserved evidence for pottery production.…

Medieval Farmstead, Stowupland

Featured Image: aerial view of excavation area, looking north-east © Oxford Archaeology East In 2021, excavations revealed evidence of a medieval farmstead in Stowupland, south of Gipping Road. Oxford Archaeology East carried out a trial trench evaluation and excavation work ahead of a proposed residential development, which revealed a medieval farmstead consisting of field boundary…

Archaeological Excavations at Candlet Road, Felixstowe

Featured Image: view of excavation area, looking north. Prehistoric enclosure in the left foreground and the Roman enclosure in the right background © Archaeology South-East Archaeological excavations in Felixstowe have uncovered a multi-period site with remains dating to the prehistoric, Roman, and post-medieval periods. The on-site investigations were completed in January 2022 ahead of residential…

Discovering Prehistoric Woolpit

Featured Image: excavating enclosure, aerial view © Pre-Construct Archaeology A site with prehistoric remains has been excavated on the edge of Woolpit ahead of a housing development. Excavations have revealed some interesting prehistoric archaeology at Woolpit. The earliest finds included struck flint tools, flint-working waste and ‘Mildenhall Ware’ pottery sherds, broadly dating to the Early…

A multi-period site at Johnson’s Farm, Leiston

Featured Image: View north-west of the medieval farmstead complex © Pre-Construct Archaeology A multi-period site, with remains dating from the prehistoric to the post-medieval periods, has been excavated on the edge of Leiston ahead of a housing development. Although a number of Neolithic flints were found at the site, the earliest recorded archaeology was a…

Remains of medieval bridge, Eye Castle

Rare remains of 800-year-old bridge found near Eye Castle in Suffolk. The remains of a previously unknown medieval wooden bridge have been discovered at Eye, in the north of Suffolk. Experts believe the oak remains were part of the defences of Eye Castle, dating back as far as 1200 AD. The wood was in such…

Basil Brown: Beyond Sutton Hoo – A Wartime Role

In this second article in a series of four by guest writer, Sarah Doig, we look at what Basil Brown did on the eve of the Second World War, immediately after the discovery of the Sutton Hoo treasure. In each blog, Sarah draws on Basil Brown’s notebooks and other papers, the majority of which are…

Basil Brown: Beyond Sutton Hoo – An Archaeologist Emerges

In this first article in a series of four by guest writer, Sarah Doig, we learn about Basil Brown’s early life, his interests and motivations. We also look at Basil’s first major archaeological dig, in Calke Wood. In each blog, Sarah draws on Basil Brown’s notebooks and other papers, the majority of which are held…

Romans Found in Monks Eleigh

Featured Image: The stripped excavation area showing the excavated enclosure ditch, © Border Archaeology A rural settlement, dating back approximately 2000 years to the Late Iron Age/Roman period, has been excavated in the village of Monks Eleigh. The excavations, which took place in September 2020 by Border Archaeology, revealed evidence of an early field system…

The Hoxne Hoard

Featured Image: Gold and Silver coins from the Hoxne Hoard, © British Museum The Hoxne Hoard is one of the largest Roman treasure hoards ever to have been discovered in Britain. It consists of almost 15,000 coins and 200 other gold and silver objects buried in the 5th century AD. The Hoard was discovered by…

Anglo-Saxon Cemetery, Oulton

A large Anglo-Saxon cemetery, dating back as early as the 6th Century, has been excavated near Oulton ahead of housing development. Over 200 sets of remains were discovered, with some graves containing copper-alloy brooches, wrist clasps, strings of beads made of amber and glass, small iron knives and silver pennies. The excavation of such cemeteries…

Gaming Pieces, Exning

Seventeen gaming pieces were discovered in the grave of a female toddler (Grave 5) buried at the Exning Anglo-Saxon cemetery, dating to the late 6th to early 7th century AD. All but one of the pieces recovered from the grave were made from antler or animal bone. Four different styles of gaming piece were identified,…

Anglo-Saxon Boat burial, Snape

This boat burial (Grave 47) was excavated from an Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Snape. This burial belongs to a young, even adolescent, man and dates to the c. 6th Century AD. It is certain that the man was of high social standing despite his young age, as he was buried within a log boat adorned with…

Keystone Garnet Disc Brooch, Carlton Colville

A magnificent, nearly complete keystone garnet disc brooch was excavated from a grave (Grave 23) which was part of the 7th century Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Bloodmoor Hill, Carlton Colville. This is a local East Anglian made brooch copying the Kentish keystone disc brooches made during the late 6th–early 7th century. The brooch was discovered in…

Figurative Animal Pin Heads, Staunch Meadow, Brandon

All the pins date to the 8th-9th Century AD. Some of the depictions on these pins are so abstract that the animal they represent remains a bit of a mystery. Found at the Anglo-Saxon monastic site at Staunch Meadow, Brandon, the three pins (Sf 2161, Sf 2163 and Sf 2297) have flat heads decorated with…

Roman Pottery, Long Melford

A selection of pottery recovered from a group of burials excavated at Long Melford Primary School in 2012. The site produced evidence of a small-scale settlement where craft production and crop cultivation were taking place. The pots are types of Roman table ware and date to the 1st-2nd century BC. Cremation 0254This decorated Samian ware…

Saxon Escutcheon, Elmswell

During a metal detecting survey over Langwell Bush and Church Field in Elmswell this beautifully decorated escutcheon (hanging bowl mount) was discovered. This particular example dates to the Early Saxon period and would have been deposited within a burial. The escutcheon is made from copper alloy and measures 31mm in diameter and only 2-3mm thick.…

Burial Assemblage from Barber’s Point, Friston

A community excavation at Barbers Point, Friston, revealed a burial belonging to a 16 year old Anglo-Saxon young woman. The burial, dating to AD 600, is part of a cemetery that was discovered at the site. What is remarkable about this particular grave was the deposition of an unusual assemblage of grave goods, including preserved…

Enamelled Roman Sandal Brooch, Pakenham

A delicate enamelled brooch in the shape of a Roman sandal or shoe sole, dating to AD 100-200. This brooch was found whilst metal detecting as a part of an excavation in the northern areas of Pakenham Roman small town. The excavations also revealed a high-status building with a hypocaust and possibly a bath house.…

Neolithic Grooved Ware Vessel, Foxhall

The vessel belongs to a widespread ceramic tradition called Grooved Ware that spanned Britain and Ireland during the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age. This astonishingly complete vessel was recovered from a Neolithic pit on a site to the East of Foxhall Hall. The site was excavated in 1991 as part of a water purification…

Iron Age Bone Weaving Comb, Mildenhall

A weaving comb made of bone, dating to the Middle Iron Age (300-50 BC) . It was discovered in an Iron Age storage pit during excavations at Recreation Way, Mildenhall in 2010. The comb has been carved from a horse’s metapodial (cannon bone), it measures 15.9cm in length and 4cm in width. It still has…

Medieval window glass, Bury St. Edmunds

974 fragments of medieval window glass were recovered during the excavations of St. Saviour’s Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. Many of the fragments were decorated with floral patterns or inscriptions. The window glass has been coloured in two ways: staining or painting. There are a large variety of colours including: blue, green, ruby and yellow.…

Three Steelyard Scales, Scole

Three sets of steelyard scales were discovered at the Roman Small Town of Scole on the Suffolk/Norfolk border. During the Roman period, steelyards were used to measure and weigh items through a balance mechanism. The diagram below shows a simple steelyard balance. The goods being weighed were placed in a container strung from the hook…

Jet Necklace, Risby

Excavations of a tumulus at Barrow Bottom in 1975 revealed a jet necklace and bracelet in an Early Bronze Age burial. In addition to the jet beads, the burial also contained a bronze bead, a bronze awl, flint tools and an urn that may have contained a human cremation. There were a staggering 151 beads…

Roman Frog Figurine, Wixoe

A delightful Roman frog figurine was discovered at Water Hall Farm, Wixoe. The figurine was discovered whilst metal detecting in the 1980s by Mike Cuddeford who donated it to Suffolk County Council. Recent survey and excavations close by have revealed a substantial Roman settlement. The frog figurine is small in size; measuring only 3.6cm long…

Roman Intaglio Finger Ring, Mid Suffolk

An intaglio finger ring dating to the Late Roman period (4th Century AD), discovered at a site in Mid Suffolk. It is possible that it was deposited as part of a burial. The hoop of the ring has been formed out of a gold strip, the delicate design on the ring has been formed out…

Glass and Antler Inkwells from Staunch Meadow, Brandon

Seven internationally important Anglo-Saxon inkwells from the Middle Saxon settlement at Staunch Meadow, Brandon. Six of the inkwells are made from colourful glass and the remaining inkwell was carved from an antler tine (tip). Seven fragments of glass, belonging to six different inkwells were discovered during the excavations. These glass vessels were cylindrical in shape…

Iron Age Terret Ring Moulds, Waldringfield

Waldringfield church grave yard is the site of a rather extraordinary find. Fragments of Late Iron Age pottery moulds used in the production of metal horse harness parts were discovered when a new grave was being dug in 1984. Subsequent excavation near the grave revealed no other metal working debris, so the location of the…

Anglo-Saxon Burial, Snape

The Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Snape has been investigated since 1862. With a range of burials, including cremations, inhumations and a ship burial, this cemetery provides a wealth of information on how Anglo-Saxons buried their people. People were being buried in this cemetery between the mid-6th century and the early 7th Century AD. This article focuses…

Saxon Brooch Mould, Ipswich

A Saxon brooch mould (context 0512, SF 41/5003), excavated in the 1990s from Franciscan Way (Wolsey Street), Ipswich. This site sits on the edge of the Saxon settlement and was used for industrial activity during the 9th-12th Centuries AD; in the 13th Century AD the site became the location of the Greyfriars Franciscan Friary and…

Roman Enamelled Hare Brooch, Long Melford

This delightful Roman enamelled hare brooch (SF1016) was excavated from the grave of a young woman, and dates to the 2nd Century AD. The grave was unearthed by groundworks in Long Melford during 2008. The brooch is 2.9cm long and only 0.15cm thick and depicts a running hare. The body of the hare has been…

Garth Bungalow, Darsham

This abandoned bungalow hides a fascinating secret inside its walls – Victorian railway carriages were discovered when the bungalow was surveyed and recorded, before being demolished in 2007. The construction of ‘Garth’ bungalow looks normal from the outside – however it has walls made of Victorian railway carriages rather than bricks and mortar. Cottage Construction…

Roman “Money Box”, Coddenham

A copper alloy “money box” from Cremation 6 from a small Roman settlement on the outskirts of ‘Combretovium’ in the parish of Coddenham. This 2nd-3rd century “money box” (SF49) was discovered in Cremation 6, (Feature 26 i, Area BJ/EN(S)) during excavations in April 1973. The “money box” is a remarkable piece of upcycling, as it…

Finds Assemblage, Long Melford

A selection of finds were discovered in a pit on a settlement site at Chapel House, Long Melford. The finds include: animal bone, pottery and a spearhead dating from the Late Iron Age to Early Roman period. The objects were likely to have been deposited in the pit just after the Roman Conquest. The socketed…

Anglo-Saxon Pendant, Exning

An Anglo-Saxon gold and garnet necklace from Grave 8 in a cemetery excavated at Exning. The surviving components of this necklace were a gold bead and a red garnet set into a gold pendant. Necklaces such as these are usually found in the graves of elite status women; this particular necklace was buried with a…