Leverhulme Trust award for research on Landscape and Lordship in East Anglia CE 400–800

5 December 2017

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A multidisciplinary team led by Christopher Scull (UCL) has received Leverhulme Trust funding to reconsider the origins of the East Anglian kingdom through a comparative study of settlement and landscape archaeology.

Taking as its starting point the radically new perspective offered by recent archaeological discoveries at Rendlesham in SE Suffolk, this multidisciplinary collaborative project aims to establish a new understanding of pathways to territorial lordship and regional kingship in early post-Roman eastern England.

Unique in early England in its size, wealth and complexity, and best paralleled by central places in contemporary Scandinavia, Rendlesham has major implications for our understanding of the character and origins of the early Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, and so for processes of state-formation around the North Sea.

Excavation at Rendlesham in 2013

The project, which began last month and runs until 2020, involves expertise from the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge and the University of East Anglia, as well as UCL, will integrate the evidence of archaeology, place-names, landscape history, numismatics and materials science to characterise the central place at Rendlesham and locate it within its immediate physical, economic and cultural landscapes.

Settlement and landscape modelling will also be undertaken to investigate regional socio-economic networks, hierarchies and dynamics while comparative analysis of further case studies in East Anglia will be investigated and the results assessed against the broader contexts of Britain, northern Europe and Scandinavia. Analysis of Rendlesham’s metalworking assemblage will aim to characterise the technology, scale and organisation of production, and the nature and reach of the social and economic networks within which it was embedded.

The result will be a full analysis of one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of recent years, unlocking information with the potential to transform understandings of early England and its place in the North Sea world.

The Leverhulme Trust awards funding across academic disciplines, supporting talented individuals in the arts, humanities, sciences and social sciences to realise their personal vision in research and professional training. It is one of the largest all-subject providers of research funding in the UK, distributing approximately £80m a year.

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