Sutton Hoo

Sutton Hoo near Woodbridge, in Suffolk, is the site of two early medieval cemeteries that date from the 6th to 7th centuries.

There are around eighteen burial mounds within the Royal Burial Ground. Many have been so eroded over the centuries that it is hard to know exactly how many there were.

The burials date to the seventh-century AD. The people buried here left no written records, so it is impossible to know exactly who they were, but historians strongly suspect that Sutton Hoo was the cemetery for the royal dynasty of East Anglia, the Wuffingas, who claimed descent from the god Woden.

Most of the mounds were robbed, largely in the Tudor period, and much of what was there was lost, but two mounds escaped this fate – the Great Ship Burial or King’s Mound One and the Horseman’s Mound.

Sutton Hoo is England’s Valley of the Kings, and the Anglo-Saxon ship burial found in the King’s Mound is the richest burial ever found in northern Europe.

The Sutton Hoo helmet is an ornately decorated Anglo-Saxon helmet found during a 1939 excavation of the Sutton Hoo ship-burial. It was buried around 625 and is widely believed to have belonged to King Rædwald of East Anglia; its elaborate decoration may have given it a secondary function akin to a crown.

1,400 years ago, a king or great warrior of East Anglia was laid to rest in a 90ft ship, surrounded by his extraordinary treasures.

The 27 metre long Anglo-Saxon ship from Sutton Hoo no longer exists. It was made of oak and after 1,300 years in the acidic soil, it rotted away leaving only its ‘ghost’ imprinted in the sand.

Although all physical trace has gone, perhaps the ship has sailed on into the next world, bearing its captain on new adventures. Grave robbers tried to rob the King’s Mound, but missed the treasure by just a couple of metres.

As the landowner at the time of the discovery, Edith Pretty was declared the owner of the priceless Anglo-Saxon treasures. She gave them all to the all to the nation and they can still be seen and enjoyed today at the British Museum.

The Dig is a 2021 drama film, based on the 2007 novel of the same name by John Preston, which reimagines the events of the 1939 excavation of Sutton Hoo.


The film, about the class-defying friendship between landowner Edith Pretty and self-taught archaeologist Basil Brown, along with the discovery of an Anglo-Saxon ship burial at Sutton Hoo, is set to be released on Netflix on January 29th 2021.

There is so much to see and do...
2 days is just not enough!

Download our FREE Guide - 18 Beautiful Suffolk Beaches.
Discover some of the best beaches in Suffolk.

You might also like

Halesworth and the Town Trail

Halesworth is a market town in north east Suffolk, about ten miles inland from the Suffolk Heritage Coast, a beautiful area to visit at any time of year. A small market town built upon a Roman settlement Halesworth is full of interesting buildings, from timber framed structures to Victorian former alms-houses.

Read More »
The Yoxman

The Yoxman

A new and exciting sculpture has been erected in Yoxford, only 5 mins drive from us here at the Farmhouse.
The giant bronze statue of a man, 26ft tall, has been installed at Cockfield hall Yoxford Suffolk right beside the A12.
A must see when visiting the area!

Read More »

Bury St Edmunds

Steeped in history dating back to the Bronze Age, the west Suffolk market town, Bury St Edmunds, also benefits from an advanced cultural scene and a sense of civic pride, with nearly every major roundabout heading into the town itself.
Bury St Edmunds took its name from a former King of East Anglia who, after refusing to give up his Christian faith in 869 to invading Danes, was tied to a tree, shot full…

Read More »
Shotley Peninsular

The Shotley Peninsular

Nestled between the rivers Orwell and Stour on the Essex/Suffolk border, Shotley is a picturesque village only 9 miles from Ipswich. Shotley’s history goes back to the time of the Ancient Britons with Vikings invading and battles being fought on the rivers Stour and Orwell, the most famous being when King Alfred, while he wasn’t burning cakes, saw off piratical invaders from what is still called Bloody Point.

Read More »