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Beowulf and Modern AmericaWorks Cited
Sutton Hoo is an Anglo-Saxon ship burial (also described by some as a grave field) that is located in England in the county of Suffolk. In 1939 a ship was found filled with the war gear and treasure of a Heroic Age English king. This site in which the ship was found is called Sutton Hoo. The ship was found buried in a ditch under a huge mound of earth. Sutton Hoo consists of at least 15 mounds of various sizes.
The treasure is believed to have belonged to a king who died somewhere around the year 650. Some of the items found were a sword, shield, a huge gold belt buckle, and other items. The religious belief of the people at that time was that there was an afterlife and that the dead must be buried with all of their possessions so they would be prepared for their next life. That is why there was a need for a very large ship to hold all of the items.
The poem Beowulf describes how Scyld, King of the Danes, is buried. Scyld is put onto a ship with his weapons and many treasures, and then the vessel is set off into the sea. This description is similar in detail to the Sutton Hoo ship except for the fact that this ship was buried on land. There was also nobody buried in Sutton Hoo. Because of the new belief in Christianity, the body might have been actually buried separately and Sutton Hoo stood as a sort of memorial or monument for the dead.
Sutton Hoo was located on the property of a woman named Mrs. Pretty who wanted to keep the objects for herself. A decision had to be made as to who had the right to the find. It was eventually decided that the items belonged to the woman. Mrs. Pretty died a few years after the find, but she did want the public to be able to enjoy the artifacts and they were given to a British Museum after her death.
In all I learned that the Sutton Hoo was a means of respect and tradition among Anglo-Saxon people. This was the people’s way to pay homage for a fallen warrior. It also was in many cases the route to the next life. This is why it was so important that the dead were sent off with many fine things that would be important to them in their next life.
Arnold, Ralph. “Royal Halls- The Sutton Hoo Ship Burial.” Beowulf: The Donaldson
Translation Backgrounds And Sources Criticisms. Ed. Joseph F. Tuso. New
York: W.W. Norton & Company. 90-94.
Sutton Hoo: The Grandest Anglo-Saxon Burial of All. 17 Nov. 2002. 24 Jan. 2003
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