Exhibition at Sutton Hoo
Delve into the world of the Anglo-Saxons and discover more about the incredible objects unearthed at Sutton Hoo and what they can tell us about this fascinating period in English history.
Please be aware that, in line with government guidelines, the High Hall exhibition is currently closed.
- We're limiting numbers in the High Hall and asking everyone to give other visitors, and our team, plenty of space. Please note that you may have to queue before entering the High Hall.
- Please wait before being called forward by a member of our team. We are following government guidance and supporting the NHS Test and Trace programme. We’ll ask you to leave brief contact details. It’s voluntary – but it’s very helpful to the NHS Test and Trace programme if you agree. Your details will be securely destroyed after 21 days and not used for any other purpose.
- In line with government guidelines, you'll be required to wear a face covering whilst inside the High Hall, unless exempt.
- For your safety, please avoid touching surfaces as much as you can.
- A one way system is in place.
A time of change
It’s the year of the Great Ship Burial, and a time of great change for the Anglo-Saxons.
The people have just lost their king and their religious beliefs and practices gradually shift from Paganism to make way for Christianity.
As you move through the Hall, you’ll meet seven of Sutton Hoo’s Anglo-Saxon residents, who will each shed light on what life was like during this significant year.
Fit for a king
Enter the central room in the High Hall to meet our King. His stunning regalia, suspended from the ceiling, casts its shadow on a life-sized map of the burial chamber he was laid to rest in. As you look at the extraordinary treasures he was buried with, you’ll begin to get a sense of just how important this man was.
Explore the objects set in cases around the King for a glimpse of the true sophistication of the Anglo-Saxon people. Each extraordinary piece demonstrates an unrivalled craftsmanship, and features precious metals and gemstones sourced from all over the world.
You’ll spot intricately carved gold and garnet shoulder clasps, a handsome red shield and, of course, the iconic Sutton Hoo helmet.
A warrior at peace
Not far from the King, you’ll find a case that tells the story of a warrior’s burial. Laid out just as it was found during an excavation at Sutton Hoo in the 1990s, it contains original artefacts found during that dig, including a very fine horse’s harness as well as a shield, weaponry and a jewelled belt fitting. You’ll notice our warrior is located right next to his horse, which was, in the 1990s, found buried in a grave of its own just metres away from the warrior, presumably so that he had a steed on which to enter the afterlife.
Anglo-Saxon community life
As you move around the Hall, you’ll encounter a queen, craftsman, warrior, wise-woman, tradesman and slave, all helping you to build a rich picture of life here in 625AD.
Enjoy hearing their stories and exploring some of the artefacts found within this Anglo-Saxon community, from items used in day-to-day life, to those reserved for feasting and fighting.
Listen in underneath our ‘audio cones’ and you’ll also have the opportunity to eavesdrop as residents discuss the death of the king and its implications on their futures.
Keep an eye out for short films and animations dotted around the Hall to learn more about Anglo-Saxon life, such as: Which trade routes did these sea-faring people use to travel around the world? What fighting techniques were used by their warriors? Why were images of creatures often used within the intricate designs on metalwork, and what did they symbolise? You’ll also be able to find out how the tradesmen of the time originally constructed the iconic Sutton Hoo helmet.
• 1,507 - The number of miles the Byzantine bowl travelled
• 625 - The year in which it is believed King Rædwald died
• 37 - The number of gold coins found within the Great Ship Burial
• 30.5 - The height in metres from the River Deben to the Great Ship Burial
• 18 - The total number of mounds originally thought to have been present at Sutton Hoo
• 3 - Number of Anglo-Saxon ship burials discovered in England to date