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

Felixstowe

Felixstowe

Nestled between the rivers Orwell and Deben on the east coast of England, Felixstowe is a charming Edwardian seaside town with a vibrant town centre and a wonderful mix of attractions and activities to suit all ages and interests.

Read More »

Boat Trips in Suffolk

Spend a relaxing day cruising down the river on the Suffolk Broads or along the Suffolk Coast, enjoying the beautiful countryside and local wildlife whilst aboard a chartered passenger day boat.

In Suffolk, there are many sight-seeing boat trips, seal trips, coastal trips and broads boat cruiser companies that run a scheduled hourly service. Start in Beccles or Oulton Broad, or take a leisurely sunset cruise on one of the five main rivers in Suffolk.

Read More »

Pin Mill and the River Orwell

Cast off from the Butt and Oyster Pub, one of the prettiest of Suffolk’s estuaries, immortalised as the setting of “We didn’t mean to go to sea” in Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons, it’s a place made for messing around in boats.

Read More »
Willy Lott's House

Walking in the steps of John Constable

Explore the picturesque Stour Valley and Dedham Vale on this relaxing walk, visiting the area made famous by the 18th-century paintings of John Constable, England’s foremost landscape artist of the time. See Flatford Mill, Willy Lott’s House, the site of The Hay Wain painting, and visit the Village of Dedham, where John Constable used to go to school.
A walk-through history enjoying some beautiful panoramic views

Read More »