Friday, April 13, 2018

Who is Buried at Sutton Hoo?

From English Historical Fiction Authors:
Before the owner of the house at Sutton Hoo, Mrs Edith Pretty, invited local archaeologist, Basil Brown, to dig into the many mounds that dotted an area of her land, there was nothing much to make Sutton Hoo stand out from a historical point of view. But, as the archaeologists dug into the sandy soil in 1939, uncovering perfect lines of rivets showing the shape of the overlapping planks of a great clinker-built ship buried beneath the largest mound, it quickly became apparent that Sutton Hoo had a historical importance none had imagined before then.

All of the mounds had been disturbed over the centuries and most of the treasures that lay within had been stolen. But amazingly, although the largest mound (known as Mound 1) had suffered from the attentions of grave robbers in the sixteenth century (possibly the infamous Dr John Dee, who obtained a royal permit to dig for treasure in burial mounds in East Anglia), Brown found in 1939 that the main burial chamber that had been erected over the ship was largely undisturbed.

At least it had not been disturbed by men; the earth had fallen in centuries ago, crushing the items stored within and damaging many of them. And of course, the passing of time had wreaked havoc with the organic materials and iron. However, the treasures that were pulled forth from the earth showed that the man buried in the ship was hugely wealthy, a pagan and almost certainly a king. (Read more.)

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