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


Lyn Blackmore, Ian Blair, Sue Hirst and Christopher Scull


This internationally important, late 6th-century AD princely burial was discovered in 2003 at Prittlewell, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, within an existing early Anglo-Saxon cemetery. Detailed research, scientific analyses and investigative conservation since have produced exciting new information, enabling the reconstruction of the large wooden chamber grave and the coffin of a man buried with small gold crosses, suggesting that he was a Christian. The lavishly furnished chamber included an astonishing array of grave goods – some still hanging on the chamber walls – indicating that he was of the highest status and that the East Saxon kingdom where he lived had contacts with Kent, Merovingian Francia and the Christian Mediterranean world. This research was funded by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and Historic England.

MOLA Monograph Series 73

MOLA 2019 ISBN 978-1-907586-50-7 Hb 514pp 339 bl/wh and col ills

Objects from the burial chamber are on display at Southend Central Museum from May 2019; explore the chamber for yourself at www.prittlewellprincelyburial.orgThe digital site archive and selected digital post-excavation archives are available online at the Archaeology Data Service hereAs well as producing this detailed academic monograph, we have also summarised the research results in a popular book, The Anglo-Saxon princely burial at Prittlewell, Southend-on-Sea.


Outstanding scholarship and attractive illustration characterise the monograph of the royal burial at Prittlewell. The results ... of painstaking research ... are profound for understanding of the East Saxon kingdom and early England. 
Chris Fern in British Archaeology 2019

The Prittlewell princely burial is a demonstration of the value of skilled excavation. ... the overwhelming impression is of admirably thorough and knowledgeable scholarship and technical expertise ... with investment both in excavation and research.
Catherine Hills in Antiquaries Journal 2020

This is a long-awaited volume, but a marvellous one: a substantial monograph, drawing on academic expertise, it reports fully on the internationally important early medieval chamber grave found during archaeological assessment  ... but also takes the opportunity to re-analyse its related cemetery.
As well as an extraordinary level of detail on this site itself, this volume will certainly prove to be an invaluable resource for anyone researching other sites of this specific period (and it is well illustrated and produced, all for a very reasonable price).

Sam Lucy in Medieval Archaeology 2020

... the depth and breadth of analysis easily supersedes a typical work of the genre. This is all thanks to the knowledge and experience of the team of assembled specialists, thorough and overarching academic guidance and editing, and impressive professional oversight from MOLA. Needless to say, the book is very well presented indeed, replete with full colour illustrations and high-quality photography. ... the chamber and its contents can be reconstructed in astonishing detail, representing what is probably the most fine-grained taphonomic study of any grave of this period. ... it represents an extremely rich resource that has utility and implications that easily exceed the Prittlewell grave. This volume marks a significant step forward in our understanding of this period, and will surely become an invaluable resource for future researchers. From the first breaking of turf through to publication, this book represents an exemplar for the holistic practical, scientific and academic process of archaeological investigation.
Toby Martin in Antiquity 2020