Area Map

Mrs. Edith Pretty, a landowner in Sutton Hoo, decided to investigate the large sand mound on her property, which had been passed down through her ancestors.

The Burial Grounds

She arranged for excavations to begin on one of the sand mounds, uncovering a ship containing the undisturbed remains of an Anglo-Saxon king.

Reconstructed Mound after the removal of what was inside

The spectacular artefacts unearthed from the ship burial are unparalleled in England for their magnificence, comprising what is considered the greatest treasure ever discovered in the UK.

The recreated burial-ship at Sutton Hoo

The cemeteries are situated near the River Deben estuary, alongside other archaeological sites. The newer burial ground is located on a second hill-spur approximately 500 meters (1,600 ft) upstream from the first.

They form a cluster of about 20 earthen mounds that slightly rise above the hill-spur’s horizon when viewed from the opposite bank of the nearby river.

The deceased king was buried in a ship along with treasures and artefacts. Historians suggest that the most probable candidate for this ship burial is King Rædwald of East Anglia.

A so-called ‘ghostly’ image of the buried ship was revealed during excavations in 1939.
The ‘ghost’ effect was the result of sand discoloured by the organic matter which had rotted away

The site was initially excavated by the landowner, but as its significance became evident, national experts assumed control. Throughout the 1960s and 1980s, archaeologists explored the broader area, uncovering numerous individual burials.

The site is significant for understanding the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of East Anglia and the early Anglo-Saxon period.

Adjacent to the site, a visitor centre houses original artefacts, replicas of discoveries, and a reconstruction of the ship-burial chamber. The site is managed by the National Trust.

A similar 7th-century ship-burial grave was found in Vendel, Sweden.

A Swedish shield from Vendel