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The exhibition at Sutton Hoo

The replica helmet on display in the High Hall at Sutton Hoo
The replica helmet at Sutton Hoo | © National Trust Images / Phil Morley

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.

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 towards Christianity.

In the High 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 hall to meet the king. Admire the scale of 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 the warrior is located right next to his horse, which was found, in the 1990s, 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.

The Warrior Horseman's burial treasure at Sutton Hoo
The Warrior Horseman's burial treasure at Sutton Hoo | © National Trust Images / Phil Morley

Anglo-Saxon community life

As you explore the exhibition, you’ll encounter a queen, craftsman, warrior, wise-woman, tradesman and slave, all helping to paint a rich picture of life here in 625AD.

Discover their stories and examine 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 underneath the ‘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.

Moving stories

Keep an eye out for short films and animations dotted around to learn more about Anglo-Saxon life, including trade routes, fighting techniques and symbolism.

You’ll also be able to find out how the tradesmen of the time originally constructed the famous Sutton Hoo helmet.

Sutton Hoo fun facts

Hoo's counting...

  • 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 - The number of Anglo-Saxon ship burials discovered in England to date

Temporary exhibition space

We also display temporary exhibitions at Sutton Hoo. Throughout the year we are able to bring changing exhibitions for you to visit. The programme will change periodically to bring new and exciting displays that are relevant and engaging.

The Warrior Horseman's burial treasure at Sutton Hoo

Sutton Hoo's collections

Explore the objects and works of art we care for at Sutton Hoo on the National Trust Collections website.

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