Home > News > Suffolk’s Anglo-Saxon past to be revealed with £500,000 National Lottery grant for community archaeology project

Suffolk’s Anglo-Saxon past to be revealed with £500,000 National Lottery grant for community archaeology project

Posted by East Suffolk Communications Team on 10 January 2020 | Comments

A National Lottery Heritage Fund grant has been awarded to Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service (SCCAS) to fund a large, community archaeological project to uncover the hidden archaeology in the Deben valley in south-east Suffolk.

Rendlesham Revealed: Anglo-Saxon Life in South-East Suffolk will connect the unique stories of the princely burials of Sutton Hoo and the site of the royal palace at Rendlesham. This will put them into the context of the wider Anglo-Saxon communities and landscapes of which they were part.

Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the £517,300 grant will unlock at least a further £200,000 in match funding from local and national partners, universities and volunteers. This match funding includes smaller cash grants generously given by Institute of Archaeology at University College London, the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History, The Sutton Hoo Society and Council of British Archaeology East. This project has also been made possible by the kind support of local landowners.

Local people will be a vital part of this four-year community archaeology project. SCCAS and their partners will directly engage local residents, schools, young people and volunteers from south-east Suffolk and Ipswich.

Supported through The National Lottery Heritage Fund, there will be a range of opportunities for local people to volunteer and be trained in on-site archaeological survey and excavation, as well as taking part in hands-on experimental archaeology events, specialist and family workshops, guided walks and exhibitions. These activities will take place in south-east Suffolk and Ipswich from summer 2020-2023.

Commenting on the award, Councillor Richard Rout, Suffolk County Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Protection, said:

“This is excellent news and I am thrilled that the National Lottery Heritage Fund has chosen to support Rendlesham Revealed. It is an exciting opportunity to work with new partners and to bring professionals and communities together. This project will leave a lasting legacy for heritage and the people of Suffolk and will boost the profile of our county.”

Professor Christopher Scull (Honorary Visiting Professor at University College London and University of Cardiff), the project’s academic lead, said:

“The support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund will allow the people of Suffolk to investigate, understand and protect fragile archaeology of international importance. Setting Rendlesham and Sutton Hoo in their wider landscape promises new understandings of the early East Anglian kingdom, its people and its rulers, and the wider English and North Sea worlds of which they were a part.” 

Anne Jenkins, Director of England, Midlands & East at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“We’re very pleased to be supporting Rendlesham Revealed: Anglo-Saxon Life in South-East Suffolk and that the local community will get the chance to get really hands-on with the hidden heritage of the Deben Valley. Community projects are at the heart of our funding and we hope that many volunteers will turn up some fascinating finds on their archaeological endeavours.”

Rendlesham Revealed will follow on from a pilot project, conducted in 2008-2017, of systematic survey and small-scale excavation co-ordinated by SCCAS at Rendlesham. This uncovered evidence of the Anglo-Saxon royal settlement, first recorded by Bede in the 8th Century, where the East Anglian kings would have stayed, feasted their followers, administered justice, and collected dues and tribute. The National Lottery Heritage Fund grant enables these investigations to be continued.

Events, workshops and volunteer opportunities will be widely advertised, follow @SCCArchaeology on Twitter, Instagram and @SCCArchaelogicalService on Facebook to keep up-to-date.