The early history of the landscape

Deben Valley View on Sutton Hoo Long Walk © Michael Graham

Deben Valley View on Sutton Hoo Long Walk

Sutton Hoo before the Saxons...

Not only is Sutton Hoo rich in Anglo Saxon history, but there is also archaeological evidence dating the site back as far as the Neolithic period. During later excavations by Martin Carver, of the University of York, it was discovered that beneath the burial mounds there was evidence of earlier settlement.

Pre-Historic Hoo

Beneath these mounds is a prehistoric landscape  © Joe Cornish

Beneath these mounds is a prehistoric landscape

Precious artefacts such as pot sherds, hearths and ditches have been found dating back to the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Age. Archaeologists have suggested that humans settled in the area around 3500BC and began to use flint tool technology. The landscape developed around 2000BC with evidence found of circular wooden framed houses located in large enclosed ditches. It is believed that Sutton Hoo’s land was originally used for farming however; the soil conditions were too acidic. As a result this limited the amount of ploughing possible before the land became exhausted and the settlers had to move on. In 500BC Iron Age farmers returned, the landscape remained in use until the arrival of the Romans. Through systematic field walking surveys it has been possible to trace the spreads of pottery and debris of Prehistoric and Roman settlements on the landscape. The Romans lived on the land until AD410, leaving turf and scrub to grow over the acidic and over ploughed soil.