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Saxon graveyard unearthed in Suffolk

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

Saxon graveyard unearthed in Suffolk
The team has returned to the north bank of the River Alde
for a three-week dig [Credit: BBC]
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.

Saxon graveyard unearthed in Suffolk
On previous digs, the team uncovered 12 Saxon graves showing
evidence of Christian burial [Credit: BBC]
"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. 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 been involved in all the digs along with Suffolk County Council archaeologists.

Saxon graveyard unearthed in Suffolk
A Roman dolphin ornament, made of bronze, has been
found in the latest dig [Credit: BBC]
Richard Newman, from the society, said: "Around about 650 AD, Abbot Butwulf started building his minster across the river at Iken and it is synonymous 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.

Source: BBC News Website [September 05, 2013]

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