The Deben Valley's history dates back over 1,400 years and holds a number of royal connections including the Sutton Hoo burial and the recently discovered palace site at Rendlesham.
A four-year community archaeology project, Rendlesham Revealed, is conducting digs to better understand these royal sites and the broader story of the area during England’s early history.
Discoveries made so far during the excavations include:
- the well-preserved foundations of a substantial timber hall
- remnants of food preparation and feasting
- personal items like dress jewellery, fragments of vessels and pottery
Bringing the past to life through people power
One of the project's central goals is to empower people by providing them with the tools and knowledge needed to engage with their archaeological heritage.
Dig volunteers have learned new skills by participating in surveys and excavations. The project has also included hands-on workshops, family-friendly activities, guided walks, an exhibition, digital access, and displays at partner heritage sites.
One volunteer said: “Seeing how the finds are handled is really interesting. It is amazing to see how much information is derived from the smallest things – like a tiny grain or a snail shell.”
As part of the project, Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service focused on engaging local primary school students, clients with mental health diagnoses from Suffolk MIND and young carers from Suffolk Family Carers.