Did you know the Anglo-Saxons sometimes buried their dead in ships?

Scyld Scefing's body is placed in a ship and sent out to sea, but in 1938 a whole Anglo-Saxon ship was found buried in the ground at a place called Sutton Hoo in Suffolk.

ship's carcus The ship was full of gold and silver, jewellery and weapons, bowls and cups.

In Anglo-Saxon times these sorts of things were often buried with people when they died - perhaps because the Anglo-Saxons thought the dead person would need them on their journey to another life, or when he got there. Or perhaps these objects were meant to show how important the dead person had been when he or she was alive, or were the things they liked to use and were fond of.

No one knows for sure who was buried in the ship at Sutton Hoo, but it must have been a rich person, perhaps a king of the East Angles who lived in that part of the country. It seems the ship was buried around 640 AD (that means 640 years after the birth of Jesus).

Here are some of the things they found.

This is a helmet was made of iron and decorated with bronze. Click on the picture to see a larger version. Can you see the two dragon's heads meeting at the front?


These are called shoulder-clasps. They were used for fastening clothes at the shoulders. These clasps are made of gold and decorated with precious stones and cooured glass.


This sceptre was for the king to carry at ceremonies, to show his power. The long middle part could be used for sharpening swords.


This was the lid of a purse. When you look at the larger version (click over the picture) see how many animals you can find.


This is a gold belt buckle. The Anglo-Saxons liked to use twisting shapes like these to make decorations. Click on the picture to see a larger version.

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