Rendlesham in East Anglia and beyond
Contacts with Continental Europe
Gold coins, known as Merovingian tremisses, are more numerous from Rendlesham than any other Anglo-Saxon site. A purseful (37) of them from Mound One at Sutton Hoo has been interpreted as indicating royal gift exchange between East Anglia and the Merovingian rulers in France, and they are reused at Rendlesham and elsewhere as pendants. However the presence of blanks, weights and cut coins at Rendlesham may show that they are being used as currency in high level transactions.
Bronze coins minted by the Byzantine emperors in the late 6th and early 7th century are even more unusual finds in Anglo-Saxon England. An example of a Follis of Justin II minted at Constantinople in 575-576 found at Rendlesham can be seen on the right.The eight Byzantine coins from Rendlesham suggest that foreign merchants came here, perhaps bringing with them a type of bronze bowl, which we can identify from the fragments of footring found in the detecting
Distinctive brooches, such as the one to the left, also show contact with Europe, in marriage dowries or through trade.
Role within the kingdom of East Anglia
Rendlesham can be identified as a royal estate centre, a place where, for some of the time, the kings would have lived, administered justice and collected dues. There are other sites in the region that would also have served as temporary royal residences as the court travelled around the kingdom, but at present Rendlesham is the largest and the longest-lived of these places.
At the same time, during the 7th century, a small settlement of foreign traders was established at Ipswich (in the area near St Peters Church and the Novotel hotel). In the 8th century this settlement expanded into a town and port that was the trade and manufacturing centre of the kingdom for the next 200 years, probably taking over some of the functions of the Rendlesham estate.
There is more information about work done on Anglo-Saxon Ipswich at: http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/ipswich_parent_2015/
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