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Sutton Hoo (UK)


Shield from Sutton Hoo Burial, British Museum

Shield from Sutton Hoo Burial, British Museum

Definition: The archaeological site of Sutton Hoo consists of a group of at least fourteen burial mounds, located in southeastern Suffolk, England, one of which is an Anglo-Saxon period ship burial with some of the richest burial goods ever found in the UK. Excavated in the 1930s by Basil Brown and Charles Phillips, the timber ship is 27 meters (89 feet) long.

Two mounds (Mound 1 and 2) have each been considered to be the grave of Raedwald, king of East Anglia from 599 to 625 AD, but there is considerable doubt about the attribution. Sutton Hoo Mound 1 has also been mentioned as the burial place of Beowulf, but of course, Beowulf was a fictional Scandinavian.

The most recent excavations at Sutton Hoo were conducted by the Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service under the direction of Martin Carver at the University of York.


Bruce-Mitford, R.L.S. 1975. The Sutton Hoo Ship Burial.. London.

Carver, M.O.H. 1998. Sutton Hoo: Burial Ground of Kings? University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia.

-- (ed) 1992. The Age of Sutton Hoo: the seventh century in north-western Europe. Boydell Press, Suffolk, UK

Dobat, A. S. 2007 The king and his cult: the axe-hammer from Sutton Hoo and its implications for the concept of sacral leadership in early medieval Europe. Antiquity 80(310):880–893.

Enright, M. J. 2006. The Sutton Hoo sceptre and the roots of Celtic kingship theory. Four Courts Press, Dublin.

Evans, A. C. 1994. The Sutton Hoo Ship Burial. British Museum Trustees, London.

Green, C. 1988. Sutton Hoo: the excavation of a royal ship-burial. Merlin, London.

Williams, H. 2001. Death, memory and time: a consideration of mortuary practices at Sutton Hoo. In C. Humphrey & W. Ormrod (eds.) Suffolk in the Middle Ages. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer. pp. 35-71.

Thanks to Asa Mittman

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