Burial fit for a king

King Raedwald lying in state at Sutton Hoo © Jemma Finch

King Raedwald lying in state at Sutton Hoo

Latest update 27.03.2013 15:16

On a visit to Sutton Hoo you can now turn the clock back to 626AD and witness the final preparations for the funeral of a mighty warrior king.

This is the only accepted pagan Anglo-Saxon royal burial, equivalent in status to Westminster Abbey. The 1939 discovery of the royal burial chamber, within the legendary ship burial at Sutton Hoo, was to become one of the most significant finds in archaeological history.

Now, for the first time, visitors to this world famous burial site will be able to experience the mystery and magic of the king’s final resting place for themselves.

Step inside the burial chamber

Be amongst the first to step inside the life-size replica of the burial chamber and be transported back to the night a nation mourned the loss of a mighty king.

Enter the chamber to the soft orange glow of candlelight and discover the body of King Raedwald lying in state. Breathe in the scent of wood smoke and listen to the hushed voices of those waiting to pay their respects to a warrior king.

See close up the magnificent grave goods left by mourners to accompany the king on his final journey to the afterlife. Intricate replicas, including his sword, spears, sceptre, beautifully crafted belt buckle and shoulder clasps, as well as the iconic awe inspiring helmet are just waiting to be discovered.

Imagine what it must've been like to have witnessed this great event on that moonlit night, all those centuries ago.

New visitor experience

Elizabeth Rohde, Visitor Services Manager at Sutton Hoo and the driving force behind this exciting new visitor experience said:

'Until now, visitors have been able to walk to the atmospheric burial mounds and view the royal burial chamber from a distance.

'We felt we needed to go one step further to bring the experience to life so that our visitors could connect with what is an incredibly powerful story of the death of a king,' she went on to reveal.

Page one of English history

Since its discovery Sutton Hoo has been referred to as ‘page one of English history’. The helmet may be an iconic symbol, but Sutton Hoo is a place of pilgrimage for those who want to find out more about our origins.

After all, the term ‘English’ comes from the Angles of whom Raedwald was king.

This new experience will help tell the story of his death and the birth of a nation.