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While the story of this period is known to us in broad strokes, in archaeological terms, there remains much to uncover.The early Anglo-Saxon period is a time whose events are often shrouded in fantasy.Shortly after his pilgrimage in the sixth century, the monastery in Lyminge was founded by Queen Æethelburga, daughter of King Æthelbert of Kent, who, in 597, became the first Anglo-Saxon king to be converted to Christianity.Lyminge was transformed by its Christian monastic settlement, which brought about changes in lifestyle, identity, and behavior of the local population.Such is the case with the recent surprising discovery of a Saxon royal feasting hall.For the last six years the Lyminge Archaeological Project has investigated the modern village of Lyminge, Kent, located a short distance from the famous white cliffs of Dover.

“Excavating large open areas in villages of medieval origin can be an extremely successful strategy in uncovering the evolution of the Saxon village,” explains Knox.During the dark and violent times of the fifth century, pagan warrior kings ruled southern Britain.At Lyminge, current archaeological research is now making it possible to retrace the village’s early history to Anglo-Saxon settlers, just a few decades after the fall of Roman Britain.Since the feasting hall at Lyminge was constructed from timber and other perishable materials, only the foundation trenches and postholes remain visible.Its rectangular plan measures approximately 69 by 28 feet, making it comparable to the grandest Saxon halls ever discovered, such as those at Yeavering in Northumberland and Cowdery’s Down in Hampshire.Fifth-century Britain was a tumultuous place, wracked by violence, upheaval, and uncertainty. 410, groups of Angles, Saxons, and Jutes began crossing the North Sea from Germany and southern Scandinavia to claim land in Britain that had been abandoned by the Roman army.

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