Using Grave Goods to Make an Argument about a Past King – England

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In 1939, archaeologists in England excavated a burial mound in Sutton Hoo and discovered one of the most magnificent archaeological finds in the country for it’s size, completeness, items of beauty, and contributions to history. The royal grave was dated to the seventh century, a time when England was dominated by the Anglo-Saxons, a Germanic people who had divided the former Roman province of Britannia into a number of petty kingdoms. The site was located in the territory of the kingdom of East Anglia, and the king’s body had been buried in a 90 foot long ship and accompanied by rich grave goods from all over the world.Assignment

Archaeologist have limited sources from this time period and must rely on archaeological evidence and the few primary sources available to analyze the details of the grave. Using the descriptions of the grave goods below, as well as the included literary sources, make an argument for which king is buried in the ship. You will be graded on the completeness of your argument rather than your choice of king.

The East Anglian Kings from this time were: Redwald (599-624/5), Eorpwald (625-627/8), Sigebert (630/1-636/7), and Ecric (634/636/7).

Consider the following in your response: What about the goods found indicate that this was the grave of a king? Was he a pagan or a christian? What conclusions can you draw about Anglo-Saxon values and culture? Which regions are represented by the grave goods and why?

Grave Goods

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