The Sutton Hoo Ship Burial.

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The Sutton Hoo Ship Burial.

Postby glyndwr 50 » Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:07 pm

Back in1986 I was visiting the Sutton Hoo ship Burial near Woodbridge in Suffolk.I was talking to a local man in a pub the night before ,and he told me a story which I found most interesting .Being a reenactor of the viking period I just had to visit this place .The local man told me that one night the owner of the land ,a Mrs Edith May Pretty who lived in a house called Sutton Hoo House ,She had lived there since 1926 .Mrs Pretty was a practicing Spiritulist.One night she could not sleep and went downstaires to make a cup of tea.While waiting for the kettle to boil she was looking out of her window ,which overlooked an area covered in humps and bumps ,when she noticed a figure standing on the largest mound .He was dressed in old fashoind clothes withb a helmet and waving a sword ,in a beckening motion.Being a spiritulist she took this as a sign,and contacted Basil Brown and together the burial site was under was under investigation.In 1939 the site was dug and the Sutton Hoo ship burial was uncoverd .Way back in the 16th century Treasure Hunters had dug the site but found nothing .One reason for this was the ship was buried below ground level ,and sometime back in the medieval period a boundary ditch had been thrown up and in doing so a large section of the ship mound was removed which made the mound smaller in lenght ,which as the years past by it was assumed that the middle of the large mound was the centre of the ship burial ,but in fact it was no where near it and diggers in the 16th century missed the middle and found nothing .In fact they were digging near the forward end of the ship where there was nothing to be found .It was not untill Basil Brrown dug the whole structure that the remains of a saxon king came to light .The king in question is belived to be Raedwald who died in 624 .In the ship was found some of the best items ever recoverd from a ship burial. All high status items which are too numerous to mention.The main items were the fragmented remains of a sword and helmet .along with a shield and many many high status items fit for a high ranking person.The items were highly prized at the time they were made ,A Gold Buckle of superb quality and high workmanship .Many of the artifacts came from far and wide .which prooved that there was much tradeing done from england and abroad and visa versa .



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Postby Lady Cecily » Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:21 pm

During the second season of excavations in 1987 a metal detector survey of the site revealed a large concentration of hits in one area of the site. Further investigation of this site revealed the site of the coke machine from the previous year. 8)


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Re: The Sutton Hoo Ship Burial.

Postby Medicus Matt » Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:27 pm

glyndwr 50 wrote:the remains of a saxon king came to light ...


No they didn't. Everything BUT remains. Damn that acidic Suffolk sand.


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Sutton Hoo ship burial

Postby glyndwr 50 » Mon Aug 03, 2009 10:03 pm

Ok you nit picker ,the body had been eroded away by the acidic soil but
the fact still remains that there were remains surviving of items of very
high quality .and they belive them to be of Raedwald who died in ad 624 .any more complaints .or do you just like picking holes in everything people put on this forum .


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Re: Sutton Hoo ship burial

Postby Medicus Matt » Mon Aug 03, 2009 10:19 pm

glyndwr 50 wrote:Ok you nit picker ,the body had been eroded away by the acidic soil but
the fact still remains that there were remains surviving of items of very
high quality .and they belive them to be of Raedwald who died in ad 624 .any more complaints .or do you just like picking holes in everything people put on this forum .



It wasn't a complaint, I was just pointing out a fact that wasn't obvious from your post is all.

I won't deny that I am pedantic when it comes to early medieval history though, and especially stuff associated with Vendel and Valsgarde finds from Sweden.
That seems to be the place with the closest stylistic links to the military hardware found in Mound 1 at Sutton Hoo, especially the sword and the shield fittings.


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Postby Attilla the Bun » Mon Aug 03, 2009 11:29 pm

There's a novel about it - 'The Dig', by John Preston

I quite enjoyed it, although I wasn't entirely expecting the bits about Stuart Piggott's marital problems!


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Postby Medicus Matt » Tue Aug 04, 2009 9:01 am

Attilla the Bun wrote:There's a novel about it - 'The Dig', by John Preston

I quite enjoyed it, although I wasn't entirely expecting the bits about Stuart Piggott's marital problems!


Is that what they serialised on R4 earlier in the year?


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Postby Attilla the Bun » Tue Aug 04, 2009 1:01 pm

Dunno, didn't hear it.
Wouldn't have thought it needed sanitising, it wasn't any *insert innuendo icon* sort of marital problems.

It was an atmospheric sort of thing, with Basil Brown as the put-upon hero.


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Postby WorkMonkey » Tue Aug 04, 2009 2:29 pm

I don't understand the point to this thread?


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Postby redwald » Tue Aug 04, 2009 3:03 pm

The point of the thread was to discuss the origins of the stuff from Sutton Hoo. However, since the thread started no-one has mentioned that subject. Somehow the Viking sword pommel thread got equated with the sword pommel from Sutton Hoo

I would like to state clearly, that that sword (the Sutton Hoo) was not influenced by Vikings nor was the shield, the helmet, or anything else in that burial ever touched or seen by a Viking.

Cheers,

Paul

BTW if anyone is passing the Sutton Hoo area on Saturday or Sunday, then do drop in!



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Postby Attilla the Bun » Tue Aug 04, 2009 3:12 pm

Sword pommel?
I just thought it was someone telling us something we already knew.
Nice to be reminded of it, though, I suppose. I haven't got there yet, too far away!



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Postby Tod » Tue Aug 04, 2009 4:14 pm

One of the lads from work went last week and said West Stowe was better. He isn't a re-enactor.



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Postby WorkMonkey » Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:29 am

redwald wrote:The point of the thread was to discuss the origins of the stuff from Sutton Hoo. However, since the thread started no-one has mentioned that subject. Somehow the Viking sword pommel thread got equated with the sword pommel from Sutton Hoo



Sounded more like a narration of the events that led up to the find being discovered, and what were you doing trespassing on that Ms Prettys land and waving a sword around on the mound? :lol:

There wasn't a question in there anywhere, just narration.

[wind up]And I think there is a little big of viking influence in the sutton hoo finds, if they managed to get to Russia, im sure they managed to get into the wastelands of east anglia. [/wind up]


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Postby Medicus Matt » Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:33 am

WorkMonkey wrote:
[wind up]And I think there is a little big of viking influence in the sutton hoo finds, if they managed to get to Russia, im sure they managed to get into the wastelands of east anglia. [/wind up]


Them and their damned time machines!


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Postby Attilla the Bun » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:05 am

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Postby WorkMonkey » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:31 am

Bermuda triangle anyone?

Vikings was sailing south after discovering vinland, got zapped back in time to 7th Century england, and caused a whole load of grief.

Them thar' pesky vikings!


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Postby Mad Monk of Mitcham » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:38 am

There is still a lot of debate about where the garnets came from and how they were cut. They range in thickness from less than 0.8mm to about 1.2mm thick. Much of the debate is about if they were tablet crystals, or if they were cleaved (broken) or possibly fractured off the main stone by heat.

The key point is that cutting most garnet crystals into thin slices would be very time consuming and more importantly, wasteful. Also, if they were doing that with garnet, why did they not do it to other stones that they used at this time? (I know that they did polish some glass pieces, including milefiore tinto thin slices, but glass is much softer than garnet.)



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Postby WorkMonkey » Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:10 am

Are we suggesting alien intervention here?

Because it sure sounds like it!


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Postby Medicus Matt » Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:20 am

Mad Monk of Mitcham wrote:There is still a lot of debate about where the garnets came from and how they were cut. They range in thickness from less than 0.8mm to about 1.2mm thick. Much of the debate is about if they were tablet crystals, or if they were cleaved (broken) or possibly fractured off the main stone by heat.



They may, of course, have been recycled from older pieces, which would explain the variety in thickness.

Garnet use reaches it's peak in Europe in the 6th century and from then onwards they seem to get smaller. Analysis of some of them (the ones in the Berthier-Delagarde collection in the BM) shows that stones were being recycled and cut down from existing jewellery, presumably because sourcing larger uncut stones from India was becoming increasingly difficult. Isn't there some red glass used instead of garnets in some places, the pouch lid?

Compared to the size of the pieces in earlier Merovingian jewellery, the garnets sued in the SH assemblages are quite small.


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Postby Hobbitstomper » Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:29 pm

My book says there were garnet deposits in Bohemia and Scandinavia among other places.

Fracturing garnet by heat is silly. You'd end up with all sorts of weird shapes. Better to cleave it (can be done), saw it (really easy if you have enough slave monkeys) or pick little garnet crystals out of a softer rock (you can get garnet in mica- apparently from Gothenburg to but don’t tell Redwald).

I suggest that the Sutton Hoo burial has Egyptian links. Who else puts a dead body in a ship, surrounds it with fancy gear then buries the whole lot under a big mound of earth/rock. They even had a fancy death mask for him. :P



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Postby redwald » Wed Aug 05, 2009 1:21 pm

Red glass in the purse lid! Now that would be cheap. Mitford doesn't mention any such thing -- blue glass, yes and over 1,500 garnets in the lid alone.

Birgit Arrhenius suggests that the garnets, mostly, came from Bohemia and uses modern techniques to back up her claim.

I am not sure that being a bit wasteful would have worried the person who commissioned the work too much. It is true that many of the garnets are very small indeed - so small it is difficult to see how they could be precision cut-- but there are also some sizeable slabs, particularly in the purse lid.

There are also varying thicknesses of garnets, however, in some sections of the jewellery this has been done deliberately to create variations in colour.

Egyptians, eh? Time travelling Vikings and Egyptians.... whatever next?

Cheers,

Paul



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Postby Lady Cecily » Wed Aug 05, 2009 1:22 pm

Hobbitstomper wrote:.........or pick little garnet crystals out of a softer rock (you can get garnet in mica- apparently from Gothenburg to but don’t tell Redwald).


Interesting considering how many parallels there are with SH and southern Sweden.

Hobbitstomper wrote:I suggest that the Sutton Hoo burial has Egyptian links. Who else puts a dead body in a ship, surrounds it with fancy gear then buries the whole lot under a big mound of earth/rock. They even had a fancy death mask for him. :P


Philistine!

I was always worried by Martin Carvers assumption that the main burial is that of Raedwald though. It's such a strange thing for an archaeologist to do - put a name to a burial without more concrete evidence.

Personally, I was always very interested in the site being used in later periods for judicial executions.


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Postby Hobbitstomper » Wed Aug 05, 2009 1:35 pm

Being wasteful on uncut stones was probably not a big issue. Garnet can come in big rocks and the cost of the finished stone will be in the work that goes in to it.

Modern mass produced garnets are dirt cheap- you could get enough cheap cabuchons to make the entire Sutton Hoo jewellery for a few hundred pounds. Then spend the next few years with diamond files and polish making them in to little stepped mushrooms. :lol:



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Postby Hobbitstomper » Wed Aug 05, 2009 1:57 pm

Lady Cecily wrote:
Hobbitstomper wrote:.........or pick little garnet crystals out of a softer rock (you can get garnet in mica- apparently from Gothenburg to but don’t tell Redwald).


Interesting considering how many parallels there are with SH and southern Sweden.



Apparently garnet in mica can come in little flat gemstone quality pieces. I've got no real information on it so it would probably need a Scandinavian geologist to say for sure if it was a possible source. A quick internet search leads to the following article about iron age garnets (but I'm not interested enough to buy):

Journal of Archaeological Science Volume 30, Issue 2, February 2003, Pages 169-183



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Postby Medicus Matt » Wed Aug 05, 2009 2:46 pm

redwald wrote:
Egyptians, eh? Time travelling Vikings and Egyptians.... whatever next?

Cheers,

Paul


Aliens.
Using lasers to precision cut the garnets.

It's the only sensible explanation.

Those chaps on some of the pressblachs on the Val7 or Guttenstein scabbard. The ones with the wolves heads and task and what not?

Definately alien. Very 'Stargate'.
Hence the Egyptian connection.


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Postby Mad Monk of Mitcham » Wed Aug 05, 2009 5:23 pm

Medicus Matt wrote:
Mad Monk of Mitcham wrote:There is still a lot of debate about where the garnets came from and how they were cut. They range in thickness from less than 0.8mm to about 1.2mm thick. Much of the debate is about if they were tablet crystals, or if they were cleaved (broken) or possibly fractured off the main stone by heat.



They may, of course, have been recycled from older pieces, which would explain the variety in thickness.

Garnet use reaches it's peak in Europe in the 6th century and from then onwards they seem to get smaller. Analysis of some of them (the ones in the Berthier-Delagarde collection in the BM) shows that stones were being recycled and cut down from existing jewellery, presumably because sourcing larger uncut stones from India was becoming increasingly difficult. Isn't there some red glass used instead of garnets in some places, the pouch lid?

Compared to the size of the pieces in earlier Merovingian jewellery, the garnets sued in the SH assemblages are quite small.


Agree that some is made from re-cycled pieces, especially the "Knot of Hercules". I'm not so sure about red glass - transparent red glass was made from colloidal gold, and is a reall bu**er to get right, it also has chemical issues. Opaque red/orange is easy and relatively common, but transparent reds are extremely rare, I've not heard of a confirmed one in fact.

Much of the migration period garnet is of a variety called pyrope, which is relatively rare. Most Indian material is Pyrope / Almandine, and has a much more purpleish hue.

Hobbitstomper wrote:My book says there were garnet deposits in Bohemia and Scandinavia among other places.

Fracturing garnet by heat is silly. You'd end up with all sorts of weird shapes. Better to cleave it (can be done), saw it (really easy if you have enough slave monkeys) or pick little garnet crystals out of a softer rock (you can get garnet in mica- apparently from Gothenburg to but don’t tell Redwald).


There are a number of garnet deposits in Europe, even some in Kent! The Swedish garnet in mica schists are mostly orange grossular garnets, so are the wrong type.

Most serious discussion is for a source in central / northern Europe, since that is where most garnet jewellery is found. Most garnet does not have good cleavage planes, the theory of using heat was that it could induce some theough precipitative deposits along crystal growth planes. Sawing the garnet is wasteful and not as easy as it seems. Modern saws use diamond, which is much harder than garnet. Contemporary saws would be made of copper or iron, and would be used with an abrasive grit. for most stones, quartz sand would work, becuse it is hard enough and readily available, but since garnet is harder than quartz, a sand containing spinels and sapphires would be needed - you find some on some greek islands. One estimate was that it would take about 50, 000 man-gours to saw and polish the garnets in the Sutton Hoo treasure. Trouble, is, there is little evidence of local industry on that scale.

redwald wrote:Birgit Arrhenius suggests that the garnets, mostly, came from Bohemia and uses modern techniques to back up her claim.

I am not sure that being a bit wasteful would have worried the person who commissioned the work too much. It is true that many of the garnets are very small indeed - so small it is difficult to see how they could be precision cut-- but there are also some sizeable slabs, particularly in the purse lid.


XDRF (Energy Dispersive X-ray Florescence Spectrometer) analysis does suggest a central European source, but so far a chamical match has not been found. Later (mostly Victorian) Bohemian garnet jewellery has a gifferent schemical signature. Modern Czech garnet jewellery has a lot of glass, synthetic CZ and Indian garnets in it, in spite of being sold as "Bohemian Garnet" There is some good stuff around, but you need to really know what you are looking at.

hobitstomper wrote:Being wasteful on uncut stones was probably not a big issue. Garnet can come in big rocks and the cost of the finished stone will be in the work that goes in to it.


It is interesting to keep in mind that only garnets of the stones harder than Quartz are cut this way. All other stones (sapphire, aquamarine emerald, spinel, peridot, etc) are cut to maximise the final weight of the finished stone, even with dimples in the final stones where defects were polished out locally, rather than reduce the final weight of the whole stone.



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Postby m300572 » Thu Aug 06, 2009 12:53 pm

I was always worried by Martin Carvers assumption that the main burial is that of Raedwald though. It's such a strange thing for an archaeologist to do - put a name to a burial without more concrete evidence.


I don't think it was Martin that came up with that as a suggestion i nthe first place. The idea came from looking at the finds and dated items (mainly the coins) and then looking at the known history of the area to come up wit ha possible candidate, who had to be someone fairly inmportant to get that style of burial. Raedwald is the best fit and it has come to be the accepted version - but its never been definate, like most archaeological interpretations.

However, there is a tendency for us (archaeologists) to present our evidence with all the ifs, buts and maybes missed out, partly because it halfs the length of the site report and its accepted by other archaeologists that these reservations exist, and partly becaseu the public want a good story and putting "possibly" and "perhaps" as every other word rather takes away from the flow of the interpretation of the finds. Actually rather similar to re-enactors presenting their interpretations of life in the past.


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Postby Daniel Ezra » Thu Aug 06, 2009 1:41 pm

Sam Newton did something similar with the Prittlewell burial.



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Postby Medicus Matt » Thu Aug 06, 2009 2:11 pm

Daniel Ezra wrote:Sam Newton did something similar with the Prittlewell burial.


Well, was forced by Time Team into doing it. At least he got the chance to say that Sabert wasn't the only candidate.

If it was Sabert then I thought it more likely that a Christian member of his family or court concealed the crosses and baptismal spoon in the grave, rather than his pagan sons having put them in there in deference to his conversion.


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Postby redwald » Thu Aug 06, 2009 4:35 pm

Interesting article, Hobbitstomper -- pricey though!

good information re garnets, Mad Monk - do you work with them?

Paul




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