Sutton Hoo on a Wintry Morning © National Trust

Sutton Hoo – Where to Begin?

Seen “The Dig”? And wish to know more about archaeological excavations at Sutton Hoo and the spectacular finds. Here is a list of books offering a starting point

In 2019, archaeologists used the 80th year anniversary to take stock of the famous excavations in 1939, which yielded the outline of the magnificent ghost-ship and more than 200 artefacts, some of which are still unique. Featuring the grave of a 7th century king or magnate, the finds still puzzle historians and archaeologists. What did the ship look like? Was the assembly of grave-goods primarily of local derivation or imported goods from merovingian France? Or further afield? What was the contact between the similar finds at Uppsala and Valsgärde in Sweden? And to what extent may we read the “grave” as a commentary to Beowulf? Questions continue to intensify. At the same time, public interest has been growing.

While a new visitor-centre opened on site in 2+19, Netflix recently aired a charming set-piece – The Dig – on the excavations, the people involved, and the spectacular finds. The series is currently running and as people are locked down, and the British Museum as well as the new visitor-centre are closed, the rush has been to find alternative ways to discover more about the place, the finds and the context. Here is a list of books offering a starting point

Modern presentations:

The Excavation and the Finds. Treasures from Sutton Hoo
By Williams, Gareth
British Museum. London 2011

This is the latest “official” presentation of the treasures discovered at the Sutton Hoo archaeological site. With 48 pages it is intended to work as a first guide





Sutton Hoo and its landscape: the contexts of monuments
By Tom Williamson
Oxford University Press 2008






Sutton Hoo: a seventh-century princely burial ground and its context
By Martin Oswald Hugh Carver
London (2005)







Sutton Hoo: Burial Ground of Kings?
Carver, Martin Oswald Hugh. – London (1998)








The Age of Sutton Hoo: The Seventh Century in North-Western Europe
Carver, Martin Oswald Hugh [Publ.]. – Woodbridge (1992)









The Anglo-Saxon World
By M. J. Ryan and Nicholas J. Higham
Yale University Press 2013

Anglo Saxon Art
By Leslie Webster
British Museum press 2012


The Staffordshire Hoard: An Anglo-Saxon Treasure
By Chris Fern FSA (Editor), Dr. Tania Dickinson PhD FSA (Editor), Professor Leslie Webster PhD FSA (Editor)
Reports of the Research Committee of the Society of Antiquaries of London


Sutton Hoo Helmet © Trustees of the British MuseumAnglo-Saxon Ship Burial at Sutton Hoo
The British Museum. The Sutton Hoo ship-burial is on permanent display, year-round, in Room 41 at the British Museum.




Sutton Hoo © National TrustThe Site of Sutton Hoo

The site of Sutton Hoo is run by the National Trust. The Exhibition Hall and Tranmer House reopened in late summer 2019 following a major redevelopment. The estate, walks and Royal Burial Ground are open to visitors. A tower allows the visitor to get a feeling for the landscape in which the mounds were located. Also, there is a view twards rendlesham where the Anglo-Saxon Hall complex was likely located.



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