Prittlewell princely burial reconstruction (c) MOLA

Prittlewell excavation, finds conservation and research

Client: 
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, Historic England
Date: 
2003-2019

In October 2003 MOLA began an archaeological investigation at Prittlewell in south-east Essex. The work was part of a proposed road improvement by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council  On the site of a known Anglo-Saxon cemetery, our archaeologists discovered an extraordinary burial dating to the 7th century AD.

The finds from this internationally important 7th Century princely burial were expertly analysed, conserved and researched by our team of leading specialists.

The size of the grave and the quality and quantity of the objects buried pointed to it being a rare example of an undisturbed princely burial, and arguably one of the most important Anglo-Saxon burials found in the UK.

Timely excavation of the site was followed by detailed research by our finds specialists to understand the internationally significant site. Recognising the exceptional nature of the finds and requirements for conservation Historic England provided extra funding to complete the work.

Our team of in-house specialists and conservators analysed and conserved the objects and conducted scientific testing to determine their age and examine their composition and construction. These findings were coupled with extensive research and published in a popular book The Prittlewell prince: the discovery of a rich Anglo-Saxon burial in Essex. The finds have been displayed internationally and by the client in Southend Museum. 

In May 2019, the results of over 15 years of research by more than 40 archaeological specialists were revealed, making international headlines. The full research is published in a MOLA monograph The Prittlewell princely burial Excavations at Priory Crescent, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, 2003, and a popular book The Anglo-Saxon princely burial at Prittlewell, Southend-on-Sea.

The objects from the burial are on permanent display at Southend Central Museum, and the burial chamber, its artefacts and the research unravelling its secrets can be explored at www.prittlewellprincelyburial.org.

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