Sutton Hoo: Facts About the Anglo-Saxon Burial Site

Here are some facts about Sutton Hoo, the burial site of an Anglo-Saxon king.

  • Sutton Hoo is near the town of Woodbridge in Suffolk, England. The site was excavated in the 1930s and it has revealed some incredibly important finds and helped to further our knowledge of the Anglo-Saxons in Britain.

  • The items discovered at Sutton Hoo almost certainly date from the 7th century.ย One of the items discovered in a burial chamber was an entire ship and its contents. The ship almost certainly belonged to an important warrior or leader and it was hauled up the River Deben to the burial site.
  • Buried with the ship were weapons, clothing, coins and valuable gold and silver items, some from the eastern Roman Empire, and remains of body did not survive because of the acidic soil.
  • Many historians have concluded that Raedwald, the ruler of the East Angles, was the person who was buried with the ship.
  • The ship was larger than many of today’s ocean going yachts. Although much of the 90 feet long ship had decomposed, archaeologists found many of the iron rivets still intact.
  • Fragments of various textiles were found in the chamber. These included cloaks and blankets, as well as bright coloured cloth, possibly imported from overseas, and a ceremonial helmet.

Sutton Hoo

  • There are 18 burial mounds in total at Sutton Hoo. Most were ransacked before they could be excavated by trained archaeologists. The majority of the important Anglo-Saxon artifacts were found in only a couple of mounds. Visitors are not allowed to stand on the mounds without a guide.
  • The area around Sutton Hoo was occupied as long ago as 3,000 BC.
  • Many of the treasures from Sutton Hoo are on permanent display in the British Museum in London. Some can also be seen in the National Trust visitor’s centre near the site.
  • The burial of the ship and its contents have been likened to the epic English poem Beowulf, which describes a funeral in a treasure filled ship. There are also similarities with burials in Scandinavian countries.

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