Rendlesham reveals a 1,400 year old temple
5 December 2023
A possible pre-Christian temple from the time of the East Anglian Kings, some 1,400 years ago, has been found at Rendlesham, near Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, by a team of archaeologists led by UCL researchers.
The discovery was made over the summer by Suffolk County Council’s Rendlesham Revealed community archaeology project. Last year the project uncovered the remains of a large timber royal hall, confirming the location was a royal settlement of the East Anglian Kings.
The project’s principal academic advisor, Christopher Scull (Honorary Professor of Practice, UCL Institute of Archaeology), said:
“The results of excavations at Rendlesham speak vividly of the power and wealth of the East Anglian Kings, and the sophistication of the society they ruled. The possible temple, or cult house, provides rare and remarkable evidence for the practice at a royal site of the pre-Christian beliefs that underpinned early English society."
Over 200 volunteers from the local community were involved this year, bringing the total number of volunteers to over 600 for the three-year fieldwork programme, including from the Suffolk Family Carers, Suffolk Mind, and local primary school children from Rendlesham, Eyke and Wickham Market.
Students and staff from the UCL Institute of Archaeology, working alongside Suffolk County Council, were also able to participate in this fieldwork, excavating a perimeter ditch, fieldwalking, recording and undertaking post-excavation work. It was an amazing opportunity for all involved!
Image (top): Rendlesham Revealed: showing the archaeological remains including the probable temple or cult house (left hand side) and boundary ditch (centre). Photo by Jim Pullen
Image (bottom): UCL Institute of Archaeology students and staff on fieldwork at Rendlesham. Photo by Charlotte Frearson.