In 2003 archaeologists from MOLA excavated a small plot of land in Prittlewell, Essex, for Southend-on-Sea Borough Council. They were astounded to discover an intact Anglo-Saxon burial chamber.
Careful excavation revealed a collection of rare and precious objects that had been placed within a rectangular timber structure as part of a carefully choreographed burial rite. The artefacts, including an elaborate gold belt buckle made specially for the burial, show this to be the resting place of a man of princely lineage. The crosses over his eyes indicate he was a Christian, a flagon from Syria speaks of his worldly connections, cauldrons and drinking horns suggest a man accustomed to hosting feasts and a musical instrument provides insight into the traditions and pastimes of this lordly figure.
The chamber’s most impressive items are now on permanent display at Southend Central Museum.