EBK Activity Sheets


Royal Burial Found in Essex

Burial Chamber of the Prittlewell Prince -  Nash Ford Publishing

  • In 2003, a 'Royal-style' Saxon burial was excavated at a place called Prittlewell, near Southend, in Essex.
  • Warrior burials had been excavated nearby in the 1930s. So the archaeologists knew there was a Saxon cemetery there.
  • The find was very unexpected though. The excavators were only there to investigate the area before a road was widened.
  • Like at Sutton Hoo, the body had dissolved in the acidic soil, but lots of gold and other expensive possessions remained.
  • The dead person seems to have been a man. He was buried in a coffin in a large wooden room that was covered by a low mound.
  • The room still had pegs on the walls for hanging up his possessions.
  • The man wore a golden buckle which may have contained Christian holy relics, and he had small golden foil crosses placed on his body. But he also had gold coins to pay the pagan ferryman to take him to an afterlife.
  • The man was surrounded by lots of things to take with him: 
    • Rare blue and green glass jars
    • Wooden bottles with gold decoration
    • A bronze 'Coptic' bowl from Egypt
    • A bronze flagon from Persia or North Africa
    • A folding stool (or throne) from Italy or Hungary
  • He must have been planning on doing a lot of feasting!
  • Look at the picture. Can you see any items like those found at Sutton Hoo?
  • Like at Sutton Hoo, the expensive objects from great distances make archaeologists think the dead man was a king.
  • The coins, buckle, jars and bowl date from AD 600 to 640.
  • So the dead King could have been King Saebert of Essex.
  • He was a pagan who was converted to Christianity by St. Mellitus, a friend of St. Augustine.
  • He reigned from AD 604 to 617.
  • Activity Sheet available.


    Nash Ford Publishing 2004. All Rights Reserved.