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How useful is Sutton Hoo as a window into 7th Century Anglo Saxon Society and Culture?

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Introduction

How useful is Sutton Hoo as a window into 7th Century Anglo Saxon Society and Culture? Sutton Hoo is a Pagan burial site, where archaeologists have uncovered mounds, which are believed to have housed boat burials, including Raedwald 'the last of the great kings.' In this essay I will be looking at how useful Sutton Hoo is as a window in to 7th Century Anglo Saxon society and Culture. Sutton Hoo in many respects is useful as a window into the Dark Ages and 7th century as we do not have much information or evidence surrounding this time era as the Vikings destroyed many records and artefacts, whilst others were 'Christianised.' So anything is a piece of useful knowledge. The mounds that were excavated at the Sutton Hoo site, have given us clues, clues that we would otherwise not have had. ...read more.

Middle

The factor that they were buried in a boat suggests there was a strong link between society and boats; they would have been skilled in the craft of building boats. The quality of boatmanship would have been high because they needed boats to travel and trade. We can tell that they did travel and trade because of the goods found in the boat burial, they did not keep themselves to themselves. They were not an 'Insular Society.' Hence the 'Distant influences and wide connections.' From the finds we can see that they had links with; Scandinavians, Egyptians, Franks, Romans and the Greeks. Which reinforces the fact that they were travellers, and the artefacts found in the boat from these places again suggests that Trade was an important part of their lives. ...read more.

Conclusion

"Other treasures have survived from 7th Century England, but only those from Sutton Hoo are outstanding not only in number but in quantity." From the findings we can suggest that they could have been Pagan or Christian, this was a transition period, proved by the two silver spoons found. These people were skilled craftsmen, skilled warriors, travellers and traders and that they was a hierarchy in place within society. But it does leave unanswered questions as there is no burial site at Sutton Hoo to suggest how people lived, what they lived in, and just general every day goings on in 7th century. So whilst Sutton Hoo is useful for widening out knowledge on 7th Century Society and Culture, there are still many things unanswered, it does not give a full view into what life was like back then. It makes more questions than it does answer. ...read more.

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