Summer 2021 saw the first season of archaeological excavation, as part of the Rendlesham Revealed community archaeology project. Archaeologists and volunteers uncovered evidence of settlement and community 1,400 years ago at the time of the earliest East Anglian kings.
The remains of buildings and pits were excavated over a wide area indicating an extensive settlement whose inhabitants were engaged in farming and craft working.
Evidence that helps build up a picture of everyday life over 1,400 ago includes:
• bones from butchered cattle, sheep and pigs, indicating the types of livestock that were kept and the meat that was eaten
• items associated with spinning and weaving, including spindle whorls and loomweights
• melted metal fragments and slag which indicate iron smithing and the manufacture of copper-alloy objects
• pottery vessels for cooking and storage
• items of dress, including a copper-alloy brooch and buckle
Soil samples were also taken which will give evidence of crop farming and the local environment of the past.
Discoveries of other periods of history were also made:
• field boundary ditches and pits pointing to agriculture and activity in the Bronze Age
• a settlement enclosure of the Iron Age
• a First World War training trench, probably dug by a battalion of the Territorial Force in 1914 or early 1915.
The excavation was undertaken by local volunteers under the guidance of a small expert team co-ordinated by Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service and staff from the Suffolk Office of Cotswold Archaeology. More than 150 volunteers from the local community contributed to the summer’s fieldwork, including from Suffolk Family Carers, Suffolk Mind and the local Rendlesham and Eyke primary schools.
Not only is the project providing a better understanding of the significant role Suffolk played in the country’s history, but is working with local charities to improve the mental health and wellbeing of their clients.