The Prittlewell princely burial: excavations at Priory Crescent, Southend-on-Sea, Essex 2003 - MOLA Research Repository
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The Prittlewell princely burial: excavations at Priory Crescent, Southend-on-Sea, Essex 2003

2019

Abstract

In 2003 MOLA archaeologists carried out an evaluation of a site in Prittlewell, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, known to be the location of Roman burials and an early Anglo-Saxon cemetery, and discovered an intact Anglo-Saxon princely burial along with up to three further Anglo-Saxon inhumations, and limited evidence of prehistoric and Roman occupation. The princely burial is a find of international significance - the richest and most important Anglo-Saxon burial found since the 1939 discovery of the great ship burial at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, and the best-preserved and only such burial to be excavated to the most exacting modern standards. The lavishly furnished, large wooden chamber beneath a mound contained the coffin of a man, evidently a Christian, who died at the end of the 6th century AD and was buried within or adjacent to an existing cemetery used by people of lesser rank. The manner of his burial suggests that he lived at the apex of a hierarchical society, with a lifestyle supported by a sophisticated farming regime and a productive agricultural population, skilled craftspeople, and a household and retinue, and with access to imported luxuries and prestige items. Analysis of the excavated evidence resulted in a detailed, published account of the burial structures, the burial and the grave goods, and the information they give us about the East Saxon kingdom where the man lived, and its contacts with Kent, Francia and the Christian Mediterranean. The digital records for this project were created post-excavation and include site level data, registers of the hard copy records, site plans, finds and environmental data and registers, and the site reports. There are also Publication Data Tables and Figures that accompany the MOLA Monograph. The hard copy archive of records, artefacts and ecofacts is held by Southend Museum Service.

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