1,400 year-old artefacts to go on display at Sutton Hoo

1,400 year-old artefacts, many never before seen by the public, will now be displayed as part of a new exhibition taking place at Sutton Hoo in England. Rendlesham Revealed: The Heart of a Kingdom AD 400-800 opens to the public on 23 March 2023.

The exhibition tells the story of an Anglo-Saxon royal settlement in Suffolk, the largest and wealthiest of its time known in England. Suffolk County Council’s Archaeological Service is curating the exhibition, to celebrate “Rendlesham Revealed”, a community archaeology project funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Two years of excavations at sites in the Deben valley have now been completed, with the final season running this autumn.

Small long brooch, just excavated at Rendlesham. © Suffolk County Council; taken by Cotswold Archaeology

“The world now knows more about Anglo-Saxon life, thanks to the brilliant work undertaken by the Rendlesham Revealed project,” explains Councillor Melanie Vigo di Gallidoro, Suffolk County Council’s Deputy Cabinet Member for Protected Landscapes and Archaeology. “Hundreds of local volunteers, supported by the council’s Archaeological Service and the academic advisors, have been at the heart of the project and its discoveries. They have unearthed objects that have been buried in Suffolk’s soil for over 1,000 years.”

Gilded Horse Harness Mount with garnet and shell decoration, found at Rendlesham. © Suffolk County Council

The exhibition will take visitors on a 400-year journey, revealing how the settlement at Rendlesham developed, before moving on to celebrate contributions from today’s local community. Some of the objects on display include:

  • High-status gold and silver dress accessories, sword fittings and horse harness fittings
  • Everyday objects worn and used by the people who lived there, such as buckles and pins, weaving items and pottery
  • Metal working debris and unfinished items
  • Animal bone as the remains of food preparation and feasting

“In the rich tapestry of the Anglo-Saxon Deben valley, Sutton Hoo and Rendlesham are often intertwining threads and the recent research from Rendlesham has further enhanced our knowledge and understanding of this landscape and some of the people who called it home,” says Laura Howarth, Sutton Hoo’s Archaeology and Engagement Manager. “As long-standing supporters of the Rendlesham Revealed project, we at National Trust Sutton Hoo are delighted to be the first hosts of this exciting exhibition with objects on loan from Ipswich Museum and Suffolk County Council Archaeological Archives.

Gold and Garnet Sword Pyramid Mount, found at Rendlesham. © Suffolk County Council

“The Rendlesham Revealed is a real celebration of community; both the communities that lived in the area over 1,000 years ago but also the communities of today who helped reveal these stories.”

Gold coin pendant, found at Rendlesham. © Suffolk County Council

The exhibition opens at Sutton Hoo on 23 March 2023 and will run until 29 October. Entry to the temporary exhibition will be included in the normal admission charge to Sutton Hoo, which is free for National Trust members. Smaller displays will also be on show at Norwich Castle and the West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village and Museum in 2024.

To find out more about the Rendlesham Revealed project visit:

Volunteer excavating an Anglo-Saxon rubbish pit, revealing the remains of animal bones at Rendlesham. Summer 2022. © Suffolk County Council

Top Image: Gold and Garnet Bead, found at Rendlesham. © Suffolk County Council