Anglo-Saxon Royal Palace Unearthed Near Famous Burial Site

Anglo-Saxon Royal Palace Unearthed Near Famous Burial Site

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A team of archeologists believe they have unearthed a lost Anglo-Saxon royal palace, located only 6 km (four miles) from the famous Sutton Hoo burial site.

According to BBC, the researchers have been working in the area of Rendlesham, which is located close to the Sutton Hoo burial site, known for its undisturbed ship burial, magnificent Anglo-Saxon helmet, and the hoard of ornate artifacts of outstanding historical and archaeological significance. It is one of the most famous discoveries ever made in Britain.

Replica of Anglo-Saxon mask discovered at Sutton Hoo

Replica of Anglo-Saxon mask discovered at Sutton Hoo ( Bill Tyne / Flickr )

The project co-ordinator, Faye Minter, reported that her team discovered the remains of a 23m (75ft) by 9m (30ft) structure, which could have once been a royal hall or palace. She concluded that it was possible that there are other royal burials similar to Sutton Hoo, which was excavated for the first time in 1939 and dated back to the 7 th century. It consists of about 20 burial mounds and the excavations revealed many fascinating and impressive treasures. This time the researchers hope to find even more burials, which could have been placed along the River Deben. Ms Minter, of Suffolk County Council's archaeological unit, suggested that the discovered ''palace'' may be the place described by The Venerable Bede dated back to the 8 th century.

A burial mound at Sutton Hoo

A burial mound at Sutton Hoo ( public domain )

''We have discovered what we think is a large Anglo Saxon Hall, which could be the palace itself, if you could call it that,” said Faye Minter [via BBC]. “We're convinced we've found a royal settlement of very high status, and I suppose it would be a large hall rather than a palace as it would spring to mind to us."

As the researchers announced during the conference in Bury St Edmunds, the remains of the palace cover 120-acre (50 ha) site and were discovered due to the analysis of the aerial photography and geophysical surveys.

Until now about 4,000 items, including intricate metalwork, coins and weights, have been found at Rendlesham. However, only about 1,000 of them are Anglo-Saxon. According to Dr Helen Geake of the British Museum the discovery of the palace was an ''incredibly exciting'' moment. The researchers suppose that there may be a few more palaces or halls like this dotted in this area.  Those times the king would have toured his kingdom in order to show his power, magnificence, charisma and the reasons to follow him by his people. Therefore, it seems to be logical to have lots of palaces to base himself around the area which belonged to him.

The Great Buckle found at Sutton Hoo

The Great Buckle found at Sutton Hoo ( public domain )

It is another surprising discovery related to Anglo-Saxons. In April 12, 2016, Natalia Klimczak from Ancient Origins reported the surprising discover of cemetery. She wrote:

''A group of more than 40 skeletons was found during the building of a new toilet for the parishioners of a church in Hildersham, Cambridgeshire, UK. The remains are about 900 years old.

According to the  BBC, the burials are dated to the 11th or 12th century. Some of the graves lay 45 cm (18 in) below the path outside the Holy Trinity Church. They were dug into the chalk, with the bodies laid directly in the cavity. Most of the skeletons were of adults, but five of the individuals were children. The researchers examined 19 skeletons dated to the 9th or 10th century, predating the church by several hundred years, but they left 24 graves intact.

The graves are said to be Anglo-Saxon, although Cambridge University Archaeological Unit experts who examined the site dated the bones to the 11th or 12th century. Until the discovery was made, there was no proof for the existence of a cemetery in this area. The researchers believe that the graves belonged to villagers who lived outside the walls of what was probably an Anglo-Saxon church.

During the excavations  , the bones were stored in the mortuary at the village undertaker's for the night. After the end of the works, the skeletons were buried in one new grave. A funeral took place just before Christmas 2015, and the toilet was completed soon after.''

Top image: Main: Sutton Hoo burial mound ( public domain ). Inset: Replica of Anglo-Saxon mask discovered at Sutton Hoo ( Bill Tyne / Flickr )

By Natalia Klimzcak

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