Anglo-Saxon Ship Burial


    Ship burials are of sufficient rarity, even on the Continent, for the discovery of an Anglo-Saxon ship burial at Sutton Hoo, near Ipswich (The Times, July 26, July 31) to be regarded as a memorable and, indeed, remarkable event. This is, in fact, only the second of the kind to be found in England, a previous discovery, though of a rather less impressive character, having been made at Snape, two miles away. In the present instance, the vessel in which the interment had taken place was a rowing galley 82 ft. long. The quantity and character of the jewellery and other personal objects associated with the burial were such as to justify the assumption that a chief lay buried here. The personal relics were found collected together in the centre of the ship, and included a handsome gold buckle, clasps and fastenings of the garments, gold studs from a belt, and small plaques of gold bearing figures of human beings and animals. The sword had been laid by the side of the body; but it has almost entirely perished, with the exception of the richly ornamented gold and jewelled pommel. the deceased had also been provided with money, the remains of a purse being found beside some coins. Other articles found with the burial were iron pots and spearheads, and an object which has the appearance of a sceptre, having faces carved at either end. A metal cup may, it is thought, have contained some articles of symbolic significance. The grave is situated on the estate of Mrs. E. M. Pretty, and has been excavated by the authorities of the Ipswich Museum, under the field direction of Mr. Guy Maynard, with the co-operation of H.M. Office of Works and the British Museum.

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    Anglo-Saxon Ship Burial. Nature 144, 239 (1939).

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