Posts Tagged ‘Beowulf’

Sutton Hoo Artifacts

by   |  08.27.09  |  221- Middle Ages

    Sixty years ago the faint outlines of a ship were found in a burial mound being excavated in southeast England. The mound was of the type described by Tacitus in his Germania:

      In their funerals there is no pomp; they simply observe the custom of burning the bodies of illustrious men with certain kinds of wood. They do not heap garments or spices on the funeral pile. The armor and weapons of the dead man and in some cases his horse are consigned to the fire. A turf mound forms the tomb. Monuments with their lofty elaborate splendor they reject as oppressive to the dead. It is thought becoming for women to bewail, for men to remember the dead. (Germania)

    Archeologists called the site Sutton Hoo and dated the mound to around the seventh century, but the most startling discovery in these excavations was a treasure hoard now housed in the British Museum. Before class, spend some time looking at the Sutton Hoo hoard online, and then speculate on what these artifacts tell us about the person buried here and the culture these objects represent.


Sutton Hoo Exercise

    For this exercise you will go to the British Museum website and search for “Sutton Hoo.” Choose 4 or 5 of the objects recovered from these excavations (and on display in the British Museum) to examine in more detail. Before reading about these artifacts, study the larger image of each and speculate on the following questions:

      – What was this object?
      – What kind of person did it belong to?
      – What function did it serve?
      – What social or symbolic value might it have contributed to its owner?

    British Museum database

    Next choose 1 object and write a three paragraph summary of your findings. In the first paragraph you should provide a physical description of the artifact. The second should then speculate on its uses or importance. In the third paragraph you should review the catalog article on your object and compare your ideas with the conclusions other researchers have come to. (*See the sample student post below before you begin writing.)

    Sutton Hoo Scepter – Student Example

    Bring your summary class to begin our discussion of the Anglo Saxons.