Burial event / near presentday Sutton Hoo, UK / near past


In about 625 a King of East Anglia, possibly King Raedwald, was buried at the present-day Sutton Hoo estate near Woodbridge in Suffolk, UK. His tomb was a large wooden ship 85 ft. long and 15 ft. wide at its widest spot, with seats for nearly 40 oarsmen. The ship had been sailed upriver and then dragged overland and then into a pit dug at the burial spot. The ship was then covered with a large mound of soil. 

Elaborate burial goods included coins, weapons, and armor, which miraculously escaped grave robbers. All organic goods, including the corpse (if one was interred there at all), disintegrated in the acidic soil. 

The ship lay undisturbed by human hands until 1939. Initial excavations showed that the site likely contained a wealth of ancient treasure. An official "coronor's treasure trove inquest" awarded the contents of the grave to the property owner, Mrs. Edith Pretty, who in turn donated them to the British Museum. Between 1965 and 1970 the British Museum excavated the site, and its contents comprise one the Museum's most impressive exhibits of Anglo-Saxon artifacts. 

The wood did not survive, but the iron rivets that held the boat together did, and the sand around the decayed wood hardened, showing the imprint.