Special Sub-Topic: A View of Sutton Hoo
|Sutton Hoo is situated in which English county?|
Suffolk. Sutton Hoo is situated near Woodbridge in Suffolk. During the 5th and 6th centuries, the east coast of England was invaded tribes from northern Europe and Scandinavia, the Angles and the Saxons.
|In which decade did the main discoveries at Sutton Hoo take place?|
1930s. Mrs Edith Pretty owned the estate on which Sutton Hoo is situated. Local tales told of great treasure buried under the mounds. A relative of Mrs Pretty was a dowser and he claimed to have felt the presence of gold under what is now know as "The Ship" mound. Mrs Pretty was interested in spiritualism and guests visiting her estate claimed to have seen shadowy figures at the mounds.
She contacted the Ipswich museum for advice on excavating the them, and they sent archaeologist Basil Brown to excavate. He started work in 1938 and in 1939 discovered the famous ship burial.
|Perhaps the most famous burial mound at Sutton Hoo contained a burial chamber inside a ship. The ship would have been dragged uphill from which river?|
River Deben. Sutton Hoo is situated above the river Deben, with beautiful views across the Suffolk countryside. There are two River Colnes, one in Essex and one in Hertfordshire. The River Chelmer is also in Essex and runs through the county town of Chelmsford. The River Dove runs through Derbyshire.
|Most of the original ship had rotted away by the time the site was excavated. What part of the ship had survived?|
Iron Rivets. The soil at Sutton Hoo is sandy and acidic and anything buried in it tends to rot. However, it does take an imprint very well and the outline of the ship's planking could be clearly seen. The ship would have been about 24 metres long and burying it must have been a huge undertaking.
|The famous "Ship" burial chamber had been plundered shortly after the burial, and no artefacts were found in the chamber.|
False. Many of the burial mounds at Sutton Hoo had been plundered. However, grave robbers had missed the burial chamber in the ship. The grave contained one of the richest collection of Anglo-Saxon treasures ever discovered in Europe. Items included weaponry, coins, buckles and clasps, as well as household objects such as bowls and goblets.
|From what period of English history is the ship at Sutton Hoo thought to date?|
Anglo-Saxon. The Anglo-Saxon invasion started in the 6th century. The Romans had originally invaded in around 55 BC. The Romans started withdrawing from England in the 4th century, leaving the east of England vulnerable to invasion. There have been Bronze Age finds in the area of Sutton Hoo as well.
|Another of the grave mounds covered two separate burials, that of a young man and what type of animal?|
Horse. This was another grave that had escaped plunder. An attempt had been made to rob the graves, but the robbers dug down the mound between the two graves. The young man's grave yielded weaponry, jewellery and cooking utensils, as well as some lamb chops! One of the most impressive finds in this grave was a horse harness. Most of it had perished but the bit and the ornate gilt buckles had survived, enabling a reconstruction to be made.
The identity of the occupant is uncertain, but it is speculated that it could be Raegenhere, son of King Raedwald. Raegenhere died in battle around 617.
|No women were buried at Sutton Hoo.|
False. One grave was found containing articles which would have belonged to a woman - a purse lid, buckles, a dress clasp and a chatelaine, which is a kind of clasp worn at the waist. The articles found suggested a woman of high rank. Unfortunately the grave had previously been robbed, so there is little to establish the identity of its occupant.
There were also other, later burials at Sutton Hoo, and two women were found buried together.
|The original Sutton Hoo burial site seems to be for important members of society. However, further graves have been found which indicate that the occupants died by execution. What name has been given to these unfortunate souls?|
The Sandmen. They were named The Sandmen because although their bodies had disintegrated with time, they had left an impression in the sandy soil. Casts were taken from these impressions and it was able to be ascertained that these people had met with violent deaths, such as hanging or decapitation.
|Although the identity of those buried at Sutton Hoo is uncertain, there is one strong contender for the occupant of "The Ship" mound. Who is this?|
King Raedwald. King Raedwald was King of the East Angles and died in around 624 AD. He had been baptised as a Christian and some Christian artefacts had been found in "The Ship" mound. This baptism did not find favour with his wife or household, which could explain the fact that both Christian artefacts and provision for the afterlife were found in the burial chamber. It is unlikely that we will ever know for sure though.
King Arthur is of course a mythical character, and is more associated with the Western side of the British Isles. King Ethelred was a later ruler of England and died in 1016 AD.
Queen Boadicea was Queen of the Iceni, who were an East Anglian tribe. However, she stems from a much earlier time, dying around 60/61 AD. It is not known what happened to her body, but for some reason she is rumoured to be buried under Kings Cross Station in London.
I hope you have enjoyed playing this quiz. If you ever visit Suffolk, Sutton Hoo is well worth a visit. Some of the treasures are also displayed at the British Museum in London.
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