Lyminge – The Royal Residences Network
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Funded by the AHRC
The University of Reading
The University of Aberdeen



The village of Lyminge in Kent has long been known to Anglo-Saxonists as the site of a documented monastery founded under the patronage of the Kentish royal dynasty in the seventh century. The masonry church lying at the heart of this monastic complex was laid bare by antiquarian investigations in the churchyard in the late nineteenth century. This discovery was subsequently joined by a richly-furnished migration-period cemetery located on the northern outskirts of the village, of which some fifty graves were excavated in the 1950s.

Initiated in 2008, the Lyminge Archaeological Project has been harnessing large scale excavation within the core of the village to contextualise these earlier discoveries with the aim of developing a detailed understanding of Lyminge’s evolution as a place of early medieval political power.


Key discoveries made 2008-15 include:

  • A tightly-phased sequence of domestic settlement spanning the later fifth to the later ninth centuries A.D. encapsulating a series of spatial shifts and cultural transformations
  • A ‘great hall complex’ of the seventh century A.D. marking Lyminge’s formal appropriation as a site of royal residence and assembly
  • A zoned arrangement of Middle Saxon (eighth-ninth-century) occupation representing domestic, agricultural and industrial activity within the outer precinct of Lyminge’s documented monastery
  • Rich bioarchaeological and cultural assemblages offering nuanced insights into the economy and cultural identity of the resident community and its changing interactions with the outside world

Overall, the findings constitute a major new archaeological resource for investigating the emergence of kingship in Anglo-Saxon Kent and the role which places of political power played in the consolidation of early medieval kingdoms.

Investigators: Dr Gabor Thomas, Department of Archaeology, Reading University.
Collaborating organisations: Kent Archaeological Society, Canterbury Archaeological Trust.
© 2015 Lyminge Archaeological Project