December 10, 2008

The Mysterious Sutton Hoo Man

Author: Lady of Aquitaine

sutton-hoo-helmet.jpgOne of the most important archaeological finds in the research of the Anglo Saxon culture was the discovery of a mound in a cemetery overlooking the Deben River near the Suffolk coast in England.  The relics and weapons found in the tomb forced a revision of long held notion that the Anglo Saxons were a primitive and simple people.  These intricately designed early weapons have been the pattern weapons for many collectible swords and amor of the modern day. 

This significant discovery was made in 1939.  Up to this point in history the poem, “Beowulf,” was the only historical evidence that perhaps a more sophisticated Anglo Saxon culture existed.  From Beowulf there is a quote that in a sense describes the grave that the archaeologists found.

“Upon the headland the Geats erected a broad high tumulus plainly visible to distant seamen….within the barrow they placed collars, brooches and all the trappings which they had plundered from the treasure hoard.  They buried the gold and left that princely treasure to the keeping of the earth, where yet it remains….”

The name Sutton Hoo is taken from the site where the tomb was found.  Many rumors and mysteries surround this burial place of the ancients.  It was rumored that Henry VIII’s representatives dug and found treasure at Sutton Hoo. Elizabeth I’s magician, John Dee, also sought treasure there.

What had not been plundered was still very magnificent.  In the earth there was an impression of the ghost ship which was elegant and long.  The wood had rotted over time, but the metal fasteners of the ship were still in place.  Inside the ship the magnificent regala which obviously belonged to a a mighty warrior or King was found.  The treasure consisted of an intricately designed battle helmet, a ceremonial sword with gold and garnet fittings, a whetstone, a stand, spears, a battle axe and a shield with bird and dragon figures.

Still there is no precise evidence to indicate if this place was indeed a burial site.  Soil tests have been inconclusive.  But in 1979 evidence of a coffin was found in the ship.  Who knows for certain about this Sutton Hoo Man?

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