Suffolk

Aldeburgh dig reveals early Christian burial site

Barber's Point dig, Aldeburgh
Image caption The team has returned to the north bank of the River Alde for a three-week dig
Grave at Barber's Point, Aldeburgh
Image caption On previous digs, the team uncovered 12 Saxon graves showing evidence of Christian burial
Barber's Point dig, Aldeburgh
Image caption By sifting the earth the team hopes to reveal further graves and other artefacts
Dolphin artefact found at Barber's Point, Aldeburgh
Image caption A Roman dolphin ornament, made of bronze, has been found in the latest dig

A team of archaeologists has returned to a Suffolk river bank to complete a dig at an early Christian burial site.

A three-week excavation has begun at Barber's Point near Aldeburgh at a 7th Century Saxon graveyard.

The team believes it is one of the first to reveal Christian rather than Pagan burial customs.

New funding has meant they hope to be able to complete work at the site after previous digs in 2004, 2007 and 2010 where 12 graves were discovered.

David Rea was among the volunteers forced to leave the site when funding ended.

"You could clearly see, etched against the wall where we were digging, that there was another grave, but it was the last day so we had to pack up and leave.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe diggers are inching their way down to the graves at Barber's Point

"But I told 'him' we'd be back and here we are and next week we shall be in there."

The team has been able to return because of a £24,000 boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund's Touching The Tide scheme.

The Aldeburgh & District Local History Society has arranged all the digs along with professional help from the Suffolk County Council Archaeology Service.

Richard Newman, from the society, said: "Around about 650 AD, St Botolph started building his minster across the river at Iken and it is contemporaneous with this site because we're very much on the cusp of the change from Pagan religion to Christian.

"It's very important because it seems to be a very early Christian site and up until about 620 AD the Saxons were mainly Pagan.

"There were no grave goods, they were buried within the community and there were no signs of cremations - so it was very much Christian."

One of their latest finds is a Roman dolphin ornament.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites