Academic English III

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Sutton Hoo Webquest

What is Sutton Hoo?

Sutton Hoo is the site of two 6th- and early 7th-century cemeteries. One contained an undisturbed ship burial including a wealth of Anglo-Saxon artifacts of outstanding art-historical and archaeological significance, now held in the British Museum in London. Sutton Hoo is of a primary importance to early medieval historians because it sheds light on a period of English history that is on the margin between myth, legend and historical documentation.

You should begin by learning a bit about Sutton Hoo – not because the site has specific connections to Beowulf, but because the artifacts and customs revealed there are very similar to those that existed in the culture of Beowulf.

Sutton Hoo
  1. When was the ship burial at Sutton Hoo unearthed?
  2. Why would archaeologists assume that the burial was likely from a time period around 620 AD?
  3. What country does the armor appear to originate from?
  4. In what other countries are ship burials common?
  5. Who is speculated to have been buried at the site? What is notable about this king?
  6. How was the ship buried?
  7. How big was the ship?
  8. What conclusions can you draw about the engineering skills of the people who created this burial site? Based on how savage and primitive you may have thought these people were, how does Sutton Hoo change your estimation of their accomplishments?
  1. Describe the battle helmet in your own words.
  2. What items were placed near the body?
  3. How many burial mounds are at the site?
  4. Who was buried in the two excavated graves in the picture under the picture of the aerial view?
  5. How did the pagans respond to the emerging presence of Christianity?
  6. On the shield of the “important warrior” what images are depicted?
  7. What did the farmer find in 1986?
  1. What is in Mound 17?
  2. What is in Mound 7?
  3. How did Mound 1 escape being robbed?
Look at the pictures of the archaeological dig.
  1. Choose the picture you find most interesting and describe in 2-3 sentences what the picture is of and why it is interesting to you.
  1. Read the Beowulf passage describing the burial of Scyld Scefing. Who was Scyld?
  2. Where did they lay out Scyld’s body?
  3. What was put around the body?
  4. What was done in the last 6 lines?
  5. What do the images of the artifacts from Sutton Hoo tell you about the people who created the artifacts?
  6. How do these artifacts relate to Beowulf?
  1. What was the purpose of burying such rich items with the king?
  2. How are Beowulf and Sutton Hoo related?
  3. Which of the pictured artifacts do you find most interesting and why?
  1. What is significant about the unique style of the artifacts found at Sutton Hoo?
  2. What is the odd things about the spoons?
  3. What does the evidence from Sutton Hoo demonstrate about the wealth of the Anglo Saxons?
  1. What are two odd things about the iron ax? What weapons is the ax similar to?
  2. What is unique about the sword?
  3. What is “pattern welding”?
  4. How many components were used in making the sword?
  5. Do you find anything surprising about the hilt (handle) of the sword?
  6. What does the author of this webpage conclude about the sword and its uses?
  7. What are some details you observe about the buckle? What sort of craftsmanship would be required to make such an item?
  1. In what part of England is Sutton Hoo located?
  2. Based on what you know about the Anglo Saxon invasions, why is it not surprising to find artifacts in this area of England so closely linked to the Danes?
  1. Choose one of the artifacts in this slideshow. Explain what it tells us about the Anglo Saxon culture.