Alex Telander's Reviews > The Age of Sutton Hoo: The Seventh Century in North-Western Europe

The Age of Sutton Hoo by David H. Williams
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's review
Apr 02, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: books-read-in-2008

In 1938 an excavation was made at Sutton Hoo by the Ipswich Museum after years of rumors of untold gold having been buried in the area. The site was found to be that of a ship burial, possibly for an East Anglian king known as Redwald. A veritable treasure hoard was found of decayed weaponry, armor, and a variety of everyday use items - as was the norm when burying a person of stature in the early Middle Ages. Most of these items are now in the British Museum, the two most famous being a large, solid gold Celtic knot work belt buckle and a reconstructed warrior's helmet.

In this collection of articles from Boydell & Brewer edited by Martin Carver, new insights are presented about the Sutton Hoo ship burial and the artifacts discovered there. But The Age of Sutton Hoo is much more than a dry and simple book on the burial site. It presents fascinating articles on the specific period in which the burial took place, and explains what England was like at that time, as well as Pictland (then Scotland), and Europe. Articles into the development of Old English, the Anglo-Saxon language, reveal insights into how language varied between England and Europe. Numerous articles document the undeniable similarities between Sutton Hoo and the tale of Beowulf, which, coupled together, help to create a more complete and detailed story of the fifth, sixth, and seventh centuries of medieval Europe.

A history degree is not required to understand the articles of The Age of Sutton Hoo, which are presented in a clear and concise manner, keeping the reader interested from page to page. The book is a must for any fan of Sutton Hoo, as well as anyone interested in this crucial period of history, when the continent of Europe was recreating and redefining itself.

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