Anglo-Saxon 'kings' village' discovered in Rendlesham

The replica Anglo-Saxon helmet at the Sutton Hoo visitor centre Experts believe the warrior king buried at Sutton Hoo lived at Rendlesham

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Archaeologists believe they have found the site of the royal settlement of the Anglo-Saxon kings of East Anglia.

A village at Rendlesham in Suffolk, which would have included a royal hall, was mentioned by the historian the Venerable Bede in the 8th Century.

Suffolk's county archaeologists have been studying a 120-acre (50 hectare) area about 5 miles (8km) from the Sutton Hoo burial site.

An exhibition of some of the coins and jewellery will open this week.

Sutton Hoo contained a burial ship full of treasures under a burial mound.

'Ordinary people'

It was believed to be the grave of King Raedwald, who ruled East Anglia (modern-day Norfolk and Suffolk) and was buried in about AD625.

The Venerable Bede mentioned the "king's village" at "Rendlaesham" in his 8th Century book An Ecclesiastical History of the English People.

Angus Wainwright, archaeologist with the National Trust which owns Sutton Hoo, said: "It's very likely it's King Raedwald's palace and maybe where his descendents lived as well because it's got a longer life than Sutton Hoo.

A gold bead found at Rendlesham measures about 0.4in (1cm) in length

"Whereas Sutton Hoo is all about death, this village site is about what craftsmen and ordinary people were getting up to in their daily lives."

Prof Christopher Scull, of Cardiff University and University College London and a member of the study team, said: "The survey has identified a site of national and indeed international importance for the understanding of the Anglo-Saxon elite.

"The quality of some of the metalwork leaves no doubt it was made for and used by the highest ranks of society."

Experts believe the king's hall in the timber village would have been about the size of a modern large detached house.

The studies began in 2008 after the owner of the land in Rendlesham alerted Suffolk County Council to illegal looting by people with metal detectors.

The exhibition takes place at the Sutton Hoo Visitor Centre near Woodbridge from 15 March to 31 October.

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