Royal hall of the first Kings of East Anglia has been discovered in Suffolk

Archaeologists have uncovered a 1,400-year-old royal Hall of the first Kings of East Anglia in Suffolk, England.

The hall (first identified by aerial photography in 2015) was uncovered during a community excavation as part of Suffolk County Council’s Rendlesham Revealed project. The project is an ongoing investigation of the archaeology of the Deben valley, following a pilot project undertaken at Rendlesham in 2008-2017, which uncovered evidence of an Anglo-Saxon royal settlement.

- Advertisement -

Excavations revealed the remains of a timber hall that is 23 metres long by 10 metres in width, set within a larger settlement that covers an area of 123 acres. The structure would have been one of several monumental halls in the royal compound at Rendlesham, where the first Kings of the East Angles, accompanied by their household and armed retinue, would have administered justice, received tribute and diplomatic envoys, feasted their followers, and distributed gifts and favours.

Literary text first mentions the hall in the 8th century writings of the Venerable Bede, an English monk at the monastery of St Peter and its companion monastery of St Paul in the Kingdom of Northumbria of the Angles.

suffolk2 Copy
Image Credit : Suffolk County Council

Bede was as an author, teacher and scholar, and his most famous work, Ecclesiastical History of the English People, gained him the title “The Father of English History”. His writings identified Rendlesham as the location where the East Anglian King Aethelwold stood sponsor at the baptism of King Swithelm of the East Saxons, between the years AD 655 and 663.

Professor Christopher Scull, the project’s principal academic advisor (Honorary Visiting Professor, School of History, Archaeology and Religion, Cardiff University), said:

- Advertisement -

“The results of this season’s excavation are of international importance. Rendlesham is the most extensive and materially wealthy settlement of its date known in England, and excavation of the Hall confirms that this is the royal residence recorded by Bede.

“Only at Rendlesham do we have the wider settlement and landscape context of an early English royal centre together with an assemblage of metalwork that illuminates the lives and activities of its inhabitants across the social range. Together, these are radically re-writing our understanding of the sophistication, complexity and international connections of society at that time.”

Excavations also revealed the perimeter ditch enclosing the royal compound, the remains of food preparation and feasting, dress jewellery, personal items, fragments of glass drinking vessels and pottery.

Traces of an earlier settlement has also been identified with evidence from the early Roman period during the 1st century AD and Neolithic period as far back as the 4th millennium BC.

Suffolk County Council

Header Image Credit : Suffolk County Council


- Advertisement -
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 8,000 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.

Mobile Application


Related Articles

LiDAR identifies lost settlements in the forests of Campeche

Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have identified ancient settlements in the forests of Campeche using LiDAR.

Greco-Roman era tombs found west of Aswan

Archaeologists have discovered 33 tombs dating from the Greco-Roman period during excavations in the area of the Aga Khan mausoleum, west of Aswan, Egypt.

Golden primrose among new discoveries at Auckland Castle

Archaeologists from the Auckland Project are conducting excavations at Auckland Castle to unearth the home of Sir Arthur Haselrig, a leader of the Parliamentary opposition to Charles I.

Archaeologists search for lost world beneath the Gulf of Mexico

A multinational team, including researchers from the University of Bradford, is conducting a study in the Gulf of Mexico to identify submerged landscapes from the last Ice Age.

Archaeologists discover giant monumental structure

Archaeologists from the University of Hradec Králové have discovered a giant mound structure during preliminary archaeological investigations along the route of the D35 Plotiště-Sadová highway in Czechia.

Viking ship discovered at Jarlsberg Hovedgård

Archaeologists have discovered a Viking ship burial northwest of Tønsberg in Vestfold county, Norway.

Update : Ming Dynasty shipwrecks

The State Administration of Cultural Heritage has released an update on the current recovery efforts of two Ming Dynasty shipwrecks in the South China Sea.

Study reveals new insights into life at “German Stonehenge”

Excavations of the Ringheiligtum Pömmelte, nicknamed the “German Stonehenge”, has revealed new insights into domestic life from prehistory.