Awe-inspiring Anglo-Saxon royal burial site
This hauntingly beautiful 255 acre estate, with far-reaching views over the river Deben, is home to one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time.
Walk around the ancient burial mounds and discover the incredible story of the ship burial of an Anglo-Saxon king and his treasured possessions.
Come face to face with your ancestors and explore our award-winning exhibition, the full-size reconstruction of the burial chamber, stunning replica treasures and original finds from one of the mounds, including a prince's sword.
Look inside the Edwardian house or enjoy the beautiful seasonal colours on our estate walks.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sutton Hoo from the Deben tideway with Mound 2 visible on the horizon above the farm Sutton Hoo, near Woodbridge, East Anglia, is the site of two 6th- and early 7th-century cemeteries. One contained an undisturbed ship burial, including a wealth of Anglo-Saxon artefacts of outstanding art-historical and archaeological significance, most of which are now in the British Museum in London. The site is in the care of the National Trust.
Sutton Hoo is of primary importance to early medieval historians because it sheds light on a period of English history that is on the margin between myth, legend, and historical documentation. Use of the site culminated at a time when Rædwald, the ruler of the East Angles, held senior power among the English people and played a dynamic if ambiguous part in the establishment of Christian rulership in England; it is generally thought most likely that he is the person buried in the ship. The site has been vital in understanding the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of East Anglia and the whole early Anglo-Saxon period.
The ship-burial, probably dating from the early 7th century and excavated in 1939, is one of the most magnificent archaeological finds in England for its size and completeness, far-reaching connections, the quality and beauty of its contents, and the profound interest of the burial ritual itself. The initial excavation was privately sponsored by the landowner. When the significance of the find became apparent, national experts took over. Subsequent archaeological campaigns, particularly in the late 1960s and late 1980s, have explored the wider site and many other individual burials. The most significant artefacts from the ship-burial, displayed in the British Museum, are those found in the burial chamber, including a suite of metalwork dress fittings in gold and gems, a ceremonial helmet, shield and sword, a lyre, and many pieces of silver plate from Byzantium. The ship-burial has from the time of its discovery prompted comparisons with the world described in the heroic Old English poem Beowulf, which is set in southern Sweden. It is in that region, especially at Vendel, that close archaeological parallels to the ship burial are found, both in its general form and in details of the military equipment contained in the burial.
Although it is the ship-burial that commands the greatest attention from tourists, two separate cemeteries also have rich historical meaning because of their position in relation to the Deben estuary and the North Sea, and their relation to other sites in the immediate neighborhood. Of the two grave fields found at Sutton Hoo, one (the "Sutton Hoo cemetery") had long been known to exist because it consists of a group of approximately 20 earthen burial mounds that rise slightly above the horizon of the hill-spur when viewed from the opposite bank. The other, called here the "new" burial ground, is situated on a second hill-spur close to the present Exhibition Hall, about 500 m upstream of the first. It was discovered and partially explored in 2000 during preliminary work for the construction of the hall. This also had burials under mounds, but was not known because these mounds had long since been flattened by agricultural activity. The site has a visitor centre, with many original and replica artefacts and a reconstruction of the ship burial chamber, and the burial field can be toured in the summer months and at weekends and school holidays year-round.