Today, January 29th 2021, the new drama film, The Dig, is being released on Netflix and we can't wait to watch it! We suspect our followers are the same! The film is an imaginative view of the now famous excavation of the main mound at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, England. It so happens that Sutton Hoo is one of our favourite historical sites, so much so that our very own James Pegrum has visited it many times in recent years, with the first occasion being part of our research for our big 2016 Anglo-Saxon build.
So why is Sutton Hoo so significant? At its simplest it’s a grave site (have you noticed that we have a thing for graves at the moment?). Graves in themselves are a rich source of information for historians and provide a great window into past. Sutton Hoo is a grave site and a half, holding a wealth of interesting and rich artefact's. These artefacts have helped historians understand the Anglo-Saxon period to a greater depth.
The site consists of around 20 barrows, which vary in size, content and condition. Controlled excavation of the site began in 1939 where the markings of a ship burial were found. The nature of this ship burial has drawn links with the Old English poem, Beowulf, and the world it portrays.
The ship was found to be the grave of an important figure, thought to be King Rædwald of East Anglia, who reigned between around 599 and 624. He was buried along with over 30 different items which have helped deepen our knowledge of trade, technology, weapons, religion and so much more during the Anglo-Saxon period. Most famous amongst these items is the iconic helmet, which is currently on display at the British Museum. Other items in the grave include a shield, throwing spears, a jewelled hilted sword, silver dish, silver spoons of Byzantine origin, gold coins from Frankish mint, beaver bad with a lyre inside. Archaeologist David M. Wilson has remarked that the metal artworks found in the Sutton Hoo graves were "work of the highest quality, not only in English but in European terms"
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