Monday, 12 April 2010

The Trouble with Sutton Hoo...

The trouble with visiting Sutton Hoo is that is a little too inspiring.   We have been here before and each time you go you notice something new.     The helmet is the most dramatic of the finds, this picture is a replica of it.


It might have been a ceremonial helmet, but whatever its use, it would have been daunting to come face to face with someone wearing it!     Below is a picture of the interior of the great ship as it might have looked with the warrior buried inside.   There was no trace of any skeleton, which could have been dissolved by the acid in the soil, or perhaps the warrior was lost at sea.    In the replica of the ship, you can see the warrior's helmet and his shield and weapons.   There are gaming counters; cauldrons and buckets; a beaver bag with a lyre inside it, food, drinking cups, and eveb a whetstone topped by a beautiful stag finial....


Currently I'm working on a novel set in eleventh century Byzantium, and what struck me on this visit was the fact that some of the silver in these grave goods came from Constantinople.    If this grave really did belong to Raedwald, trading with Byzantium was clearly going on - in the seventh century!

Perhaps one day, it might be interesting to write a novel set in those times too...

1 comment:

Nicola Cornick said...

Oh Carol, I totally envy you going to Sutton Hoo! I've been once to the visitor centre and a second time to the burial site and both times I was completely swept away. Thank you for reminding me of what a fabulous place it is. I must go again!