Experts in England have uncovered the remains of what they believe to be a temple or a “cult house” dating back to 1,400 years ago. This past summer, during an archaeology project, the structure was discovered in a field near the village of Rendlesham in Suffolk.
The structure may have been used as a place for pre-Christian worship. The area in which it was found happens to be one of the most important historical sites in the country. It once served as a settlement for East Anglian kings between the sixth and eighth centuries A.D.
The excavations have shed new light on the ancient kingdom and its rulers. The discovery of the possible cult house provides rare evidence of the religious practices that occurred in early English society, showing the level of sophistication that civilizations held back then.
It also pointed to the amount of wealth and power that East Anglian kings had during that time period.
Researchers estimate that the building must have been about 33 feet long and 16 feet wide. According to Christopher Scull, the project leader, the building was similar to other structures in England that were considered to have been used for religious purposes.
The kingdom of East Anglia was small and independent, established by the Angles in the sixth century. The Angles were one of the main groups of Germanic-speaking people who settled in Great Britain during the post-Roman period.
Eventually, their kingdom was conquered in 869 A.D. by the Danes. In 918 A.D., it became part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex.
By the fourth century A.D., Christianity had begun to spread in Britain. But after the Roman Empire fell in the fifth century, Christianity was challenged by other religious beliefs from the Anglo-Saxons who put down roots in Britain.
In the areas where Anglo-Saxons did not settle, Christianity persisted, and over time, the religion took over Britain.