27 October 2021

Archaeology online: The world(s) of Sutton Hoo

Join us for the first Archaeology Online lecture of the season as we explore the world(s) of Sutton Hoo with Dr Sue Brunning.

The excavation of the Sutton Hoo ship burial in 1939 is one the most famous in British archaeological history. This exceptional grave, perhaps of a seventh-century king, reached a wider audience this year with the release of The Dig, a star-studded Netflix film that sparked an extraordinary public reaction.

Sutton Hoo’s fame lies chiefly in the drama of its excavation on the brink of WWII, and in the glamour of its contents; but it is also remarkable for transforming existing knowledge of a dimly-understood period – the original ‘light’ on the so-called ‘Dark Ages’. Its contribution was facilitated by decades of meticulous post-excavation work undertaken by experts from a range of disciplines.

Over 80 years on, Sutton Hoo remains one of the best lenses through which to study the early medieval past, and a prime example of how ‘old’ archaeology never stops yielding new insights, thanks to new discoveries, theoretical approaches and scientific techniques.

This lecture explores the Sutton Hoo ship burial’s key revelations. Using several objects as guides, it explores the different early medieval ‘worlds’ – artistic, geographical, spiritual and personal – that the discovery revealed; what these tell us about peoples’ lives and experiences in the Early Middle Ages; and why this ancient burial remains relevant in the 21st century.

Speaker: Sue Brunning is Curator of the European Early Medieval Collections at the British Museum, and is responsible for the Sutton Hoo finds. She specialises in early medieval material culture, with particular research interests in sixth- to eighth-century metalwork, cross-cultural exchange, the biography of artefacts and the archaeology of experience and sensory perception. She enjoys sharing her enthusiasm for early medieval archaeology on Twitter.

How to take part

Please book your place below. Details of how to join the session will be in your registration email. Please check your spam folder if the email does not arrive. Bookings close at 3pm on Wednesday 27 October.

Please visit the Zoom website for guidance on joining meetings. Please allow extra time before the talk begins to make sure everything is working correctly. All guests will be muted once the talk begins. You are welcome to ask questions in the chat box throughout the talk.

Image: Trustees of the British Museum