In an exciting move, an exhibition at Sutton Hoo of artefacts from two of the UKs most important archaeological excavations will now be on show from May to October 2022. In this historically significant move, the Staffordshire Hoard and the Sutton Hoo will be brought together. This is a unique opportunity for Anglo Saxon historians and anybody who appreciates history to view the magnificent collections at one venue.
The famous Anglo Saxon ship burial site at Sutton Hoo will be hosting the exhibition which is called ‘Swords of Kingdoms: The Staffordshire Hoard at Sutton Hoo.’ The aim of the exhibition is to unite artefacts found in Suffolk with the sword artefacts that were found in Hammerwich, Staffordshire.
This bringing together of two marvellous collections marks a momentous occasion, providing the chance for a potential homecoming for some of the items. Experts believe that the gold and garnet treasures found within the Staffordshire Hoard could possibly have been made in workshops in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of East Anglia before being taken elsewhere.
A remarkable display
The exhibition will showcase an astounding 62 original objects from the two most remarkable Anglo-Saxon excavations in the world. Among the items chosen for the exhibition there will be swords, a royal helmet and a great war cross, gold and garnet sword pyramids and shoulder clasps, three gold coins and a gold sword buckle.
Within this thrilling exhibition, objects from the famous 1939 dig at Sutton Hoo – which are on loan from the British Museum – will be on display, together with items from the Staffordshire Hoard and further Anglo-Saxon finds on loan from Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery.
This unique and important exhibition will open on 19 May. Time slots to visit the exhibition can be booked on the Sutton Hoo National Trust website at the same time as purchasing tickets.
What is the Staffordshire hoard?
The Staffordshire Hoard is the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver metalwork to have ever been found. The hoard is made up of almost 4,600 items and metal fragments, which amount to a staggering total of 5.1Kg of gold and 1.4 kg of silver. There are also thousands of garnets within the hoard. Most of the hoard is made up by parts of swords, and there are thought to be more than 100 original weapons represented by the sword fittings within the hoard.
The hoard was buried in the mid-7th century which is estimated to be between 650AD and 675AD. When the pieces were buried, some of them were already 100 years old. The pieces would then remain in the ground until the discovery in July 2009. The hoard is worth approximately £3.3 million.
What is the Sutton Hoo?
The Sutton Hoo is the site of the grave of an important Anglo-Saxon king in Suffolk. The site was discovered in 1939. The Sutton Hoo is regarded as the largest and best-preserved archaeological finds of the Saxon period in Europe. A great burial ship was found at the site which is regarded as one of the most important Anglo Saxon finds. However, the Anglo-Saxon ship no longer exists. It was made of oak and after 1,300 years in the acidic soil, it rotted away leaving only its ‘ghost’ imprinted in the sand.
The burial chamber also contained a truly mesmerising collection of priceless gold and copper artefacts, including shoulder clasps for a cloak, a belt buckle, a purse lid, spoons, bowls, platters, shield ornaments, and an exceptionally rare helmet. The Sutton Hoo helmet is one of the most important artworks in British history.