Historia: A Festival of History

Anglo-Saxon potter at Sutton Hoo, Suffolk

A series of lectures by renowned speakers is to take place this year at Sutton Hoo. The talks by leading Anglo-Saxon archaeologists and historians will discuss the topic of women within this period, challenging current stereotypes and bringing fresh perspectives to the literature and emerging archaeological material.

10th June

‘Wise Women, Saints or Princesses’, Catherine Hills

Dr Catherine Hills is a renowned archaeologist and historian known, amongst others, for the large scale excavation and analysis of Spong Hill in Norfolk. Within the sixth century, Anglo-Saxon burials reached a peak of elaborate furnishings – including the rich male burials such as found at Sutton Hoo, as well as a group of women’s burials from the middle decades of the century. Here, she will discuss just who these women may have been.

A textile image of King Raedwald's queen, made by children from Melton Primary School for Sutton Hoo
A textile image of King Raedwald's queen, made by children from Melton Primary School for Sutton Hoo
A textile image of King Raedwald's queen, made by children from Melton Primary School for Sutton Hoo

17th June

‘Anglo-Saxon Woman, Women, Womanhood’, Gale Owen-Crocker

Professor Gale Owen-Crocker is a Professor Emerita of the University of Manchester with research ranging from Anlgo-Saxon literature to medieval dress. She will talk about the portrayal of Anglo-Saxon women in literature and art alongside evidence now being discovered within the archaeology that instead appears to contradict that stereotype, revealing new information about attitudes and behaviour.

24th June

‘Five Alpha Females’, Martin Carver

Professor Martin Carver of York University, who oversaw major excavations at the site in the 1980’s, will discuss the lives and representations of five Anglo-Saxon women from the sixth to tenth centuries, ranging from a matron from Wasperton to Raedwald’s queen here at Sutton Hoo.

16th September

‘Women and cloth in Early Anglo-Saxon England: a feminist perspective’, Sue Harrington

Dr Sue Harrington of University College London is a widely published historian on early medieval gender identity with research in textiles and power. Women are often associated with cloth production and she will talk about this in relation to emerging burial archaeological evidence and discuss these new perspectives.

30th September

‘Angels of Death: The role of women in Anglo-Saxon burial practices’, Richard Hoggett

Dr Richard Hoggett is a historian working on – amongst others – the conversion to Christianity within East Anglia, with several books and articles published on the topic. He will explore what can be learned about Anglo-Saxon women through the burial practices of the time, including expression of identity through funerary assemblage and the important role women may have played in the burials of others.

Historia at Sutton Hoo
Silhouette of a woman against an image of the burial mounds at Sutton Hoo
Historia at Sutton Hoo

Talks last roughly two hours and will take place in the Old Squash Court at 2pm. There will be time for questions from the audience afterwards.

Please be aware we do not allow recording equipment to be used during the lectures without prior request and permission from the speakers or the protection of the intellectual copyright of the speakers.

Tickets will be priced at £7.70 and are available from Reception on 01394 389714. For further information, please check our 'What's on' page.