5. F2012 Graves and Kings
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5. F2012 Graves and Kings

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The graves of the early kings and others of high status with a comparison with rich graves from Sweden. A comparison of motifs in manuscripts and metalwork from Sutton Hoo.

The graves of the early kings and others of high status with a comparison with rich graves from Sweden. A comparison of motifs in manuscripts and metalwork from Sutton Hoo.

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  • Sutton Hoo
  • Gilt copper alloy boss, or rivet-head, one of five (1939,1010.94.K.2-6) set around shield boss 1939,1010.94.K. Dome-headed, with a roped collar and a rivet which projects through to the rear of the shield. The boss has an outer rim decorated with one band of dots and one band of triangles.

Dimensions
Diameter: 1.5 centimetres
  • Silver BowlsThe silver in the Mound 1 burial is the largest collection yet found in the context of an Anglo-Saxon burial deposit It was probably all made in East Mediterranean workshops and found its way into East Anglia via the European trading routes. It may have been given as a diplomatic gift to the East Anglian Royal House, or as an offering at Raedwald's funeral. The damaged fluted bowl (top) was 40 cm in diameter, it has a flat out-turned rim with a beaded edge. The central motif shows the head of a woman with piled-up hair and wearing a diadem. Each bowl is decorated with an equal-armed cross springing from a central roundel. This cross-motif should not be read as necessarily having a Christian meaning - a cross was often used as a recurring design in pre-christian artwork.
  • Taplow drinkinghortnsAnglo-Saxon, late 6th century AD
From the princely burial at Taplow, BuckinghamshireMade from Aurochs horns with silver-gilt mountsReconstructed hornThese drinking horns are made from the extremely large horns of the aurochs (Bosprimigenius), the ancestor of modern domestic cattle. Such horns are among the rarest finds from early Anglo-Saxon England. They were clearly one of the most prestigious possessions and have a long history amongst the ancient peoples of Europe. Tacitus, writing in the first century AD, describes how the Germani trapped and killed aurochs and then made drinking horns which they decorated with silver mounts. These two horns from the princely burial at Taplow show that this tradition was still alive among the élite in the sixth century. They would have been used for ceremonial drinking and feasting in a great hall.The horns are mounted with bird-headed terminals and panels of silver-gilt foils at the mouth. The lip is protected by a silver-gilt rim binding held by four clips in the form of a Style I human face with high brow and rounded cheeks. Beneath the rim-binding are rectangular foils decorated with a garnet-centred rosette flanked by Style I creatures. The creatures have 'helmeted' heads and raised hands and are similar to those in the triangular mounts below. Each terminal is ornamented with a cast Style II bird head with a simple curling beak and rounded head.
  • This large bronze bowl is one of three that were hung on tripods in the Hall. It was filled with wine or water, so that people could dip their cups into it, or wash their fingers after feasting. There is a bronze fish in the bottom that turns around.
  • Shoulder claspsThese two clasps may have fastened leather armour at the shoulder. They have a clever design: the two halves are put together, then the gold pin slides though them both, locking them together very strongly.The clasps are beautifully decorated in a special way called garnet cloisonné. Thin strips of gold were formed into cells, and red garnets with gold foil underneath were placed into them. It took huge skill and patience to do this.The ends of the clasps have boars on them. Boars meant strength to the Anglo-Saxons.
  • Over on its western edge he identified Mound 17. This revealed the remains of 'the Sutton Hoo prince', a high-born young man in his twenties with fragments of his coffin, sword and shield, and also the skeleton of his horse, with substantial pieces of a leather bridle, an iron snaffle bit and gilt-bronze ornaments (c.600-620).
  • And it came about during this year that a most dread portent took place. For the sun gave forth its light without brightness, like the moon, during this whole year, and it seemed exceedingly like the sun in eclipse, for the beams it shed were not clear nor such as it is accustomed to shed. And from the time when this thing happened men were free neither from war nor pestilence nor any other thing leading to death.
  • And it came about during this year that a most dread portent took place. For the sun gave forth its light without brightness, like the moon, during this whole year, and it seemed exceedingly like the sun in eclipse, for the beams it shed were not clear nor such as it is accustomed to shed. And from the time when this thing happened men were free neither from war nor pestilence nor any other thing leading to death.
  • Page 1ValsgärdeIn the summer of 1926, two archaeologists employed by a smaller survey in Old Uppsala church. It canespecially was interested in was to find remnants of the old heathen temple. One day, they were asked aboutthey wanted to investigate some strange oblong pits in the large hill at Valsgärde three kilometers northSuneLindqvist has written about how it happened: "It was sugar's 'king', District Judge EE Eriksson Fullerö who wantedhave clarity about their meaning. Manager Peter Hübinette inUppsala served as 'convener member' in thelittle expedition. In Fullerös Ford shaken, we soon realizedinstead. "When archaeologists arrived they found nojust litter contained a number of straight elongated depressions withoutalso some smaller burial mounds that are common in the area. San-probably was not the usual explanation for the oblong-downreductions, it would be a case of old demolishedpotato cellar. There was no question of a single pit.My thoughts went instead to Vendel cemetery where one of the co-ties with the widened in 1881 had found a number of boat-graves. When it turned out that the landowner in Valsgärde inthe gravel pit in the litter had found the skeletal remains of horsesand parts of the bridle from the Viking was clear. At båtgra-warn of Vendel had, in general, found the horsesin or around the boat.UträvningarnaThe archaeological excavations started in spring 1928 andthen continued with a break for a few years in the 1940suntil 1952. It was many generations arkeologistude-resulting in Uppsala who received their practical skills in diggingtechnique at Valsgärde. In old photos, you can see them inthe white summer student caps taken at the May Day. Inthe boat grave just was being excavated was a largewooden stand. Any findings would be carefully measured in both in-planeand in height. Therefore measured tongs suspended from wooden stand-a. That way you could afterward reconstruct exactly how thevarious objects low in relation to each other. Valsgärde-grävningama was a major step forward in the archaeologicaltrenchless technology.ValsgärdeLitter and tombsValsgärde The hill is quite near the river. When one-summer day going up the hill struck by all the floral scents. Here's even true thyme! The vegetation is low, however, the substrate islean ground moraine. The hill is jagged three gravel pits. The littersouthwestern part, obliquely between two of gravel pits and towardsFyrisån, there are a number of elongated recesses. Further up theHill's three more. There are traces of a total of 15boat burials. Besides these, there were 60 or so simple cremations,a number of coffin or chamber tombs and a number kistgravaraccording to Christian faith oriented in an east-west direction. Funeralestimates derived from the many hundreds of years. Chamber tombs arefrom the Migration Period (400-550), boat graves from the Vendel(550-800) and the Viking era (800-1050), while the Christianinfluenced graves derived from Viking Age or earlyMiddle Ages. Fire graves are generally contemporary with båtgra-warn, that is, from the Vendel and Viking.They certainly once rich chamber tombs from people hikingringstid in Valsgärde and nearby somewhat older clientele from-reed plundered in ancient times, probably in the 500s. Butboat graves in Valsgärde from Vendel and Viking wasin peace. This suggests a long period of peace and rule of law.This is the first indicia on the social context in whichboat graves represent.Boat gravesBoat graves consisted of recesses in which an approximately 10-methyleneter long clinker-built boat had been. Afterwards, they had built awhereupon the ceiling above all covered with soil. It was thus a pray-clearly smaller boat than the large Viking ships that have been found inOseberg and Gokstad in Norway. The church boats on Lake Siljan is nearrelatives of the boats from Valsgärde. Valsgärde boatssize meant that the closest was designed for voyages on riversand lakes in Mälardalen. The actual boats were not preserved,but the rows of rivets showed where they had been.The dead - it was in Valsgärde always a man - was placedmidship or rear of the boat. Otherwise the boatsloaded like they would on a longer journey. The bow wassupplies and utensils. It was for example the case of kettle, pot-fork, skewer and eldbock.In the vicinity of the dead were playing board and dice andfood bowls and drinking vessels. There were also the dead weapons -sword, chopping knives, arrows, svärdsgehäng and belts. Herealso bow remained, but it was for obvious reasons not conservationline. In addition, the dead man with a about 4 feet longlance. There remained only the lance tip which was found in the boatfor. Shields, often three, was placed above thedead. In cases where there was a helmet lay down the detailed bow(Helmets are not accrued in the Viking graves). Itdeceased had further with the tools of different kinds, e.g. ax andscissors. The weapons from the Vendel was consistently more glorious,but also less functional than those from Viking.Outside the boat was slaughtered horses and other livestock. The deadthus had the possibility to get around on horseback. Alittle detail is the studs in the hooves. The horse also used thewintertime. When the lakes and rivers were frozen horse was impor-silent transport. The symbolic significance of the boat isimportant, but we can also see it as an equestrian graveUnexpectedly numerous Byzantine objects from the Merovingian Period have been found in central Sweden. They have been found in burials of the highest elite, like the West Mound in Old Uppsala. Among the melted remains of grave goods in that mound were gaming pieces of ivory along with other exotic items like woven gold threads probably from silk of Byzantine origin, as well as five Byzantine cameosof onyx and sardonyx. The monumental mounds start to be erected in this period and tell us that this was not a property of the usual farm size. The three monumental mounds of Old Uppsala visualize the establishment of a royal genealogy where property claims were related to a realm. Old Uppsala is known in the written sources as the seat of god Freyr and his descendants. These exotic objects appear after the climate crisis in the 530s, and illustrate new connections and alliances with Byzantium, but also the Anglo-Saxons. These objects seem to have been used in the construction of the ruling ideology of the Ynglingar and may have given legitimacy to demands for sovereignty and the necessary authority to exploit the royal estates. The exotic objects could also have played a major role in the funerary rituals. The women next below in rank were buried with amethyst pearls originating from the Mediterranean area and/or ivory rings. Interestingly the mounds for these women seem to have been relatively dispersed over central Sweden. It is possible that these type of objects are the tangible expressions of a desire to attend the court at various locations in central Sweden, among them the royal court at Old Uppsala. In contemporaneous continental Europe the material culture of the elite among for instance the Merovingiansand the Visigoths, are very influenced by this courtly life style.Uppland, a province north of Stockholm, encompassed the hub of political and cultural life during the late Iron Age in Sweden (fig. 8). This prefecture, also known as the Mälaren valley, “has been traditionally regarded as the center of the kingdom of the Svear in the Vendel period and the cradle of the Swedish national state.”85 Nearly one thousand farms in the area have over sixty boat graves from this period, in places that are synonymous with early medieval Scandinavian archaeology: Vendel (the type-site from which the era also gets its name), Valsgärde, Ultuna, Tuna in Alsike and Birka. The chronological range of these entombments, from the beginning of the 7th century to well on in the 11th century, suggest that they are of a family who for generation after generation interred its chieftains next to their forefathers. The earlier Vendel period graves, in particular, contain magnificent weapons and extremely rich grave-goods.86 The three howes at Gamla Uppsala (fig. 9),87 two of which are not from the Vendel period, but from the Migration epoch preceding it, contain what some scholars believe to be the cremated remains of peaceful priestly kings, while those elsewhere in Vendel and Valsgärde (fig. 10) have been interpreted as the tombs of great landowners rather than of kings.ohnLjungkvist reviewed the development of the Valsgärde and Gamla Uppsala sites in Uppland. He argued that it was possible to detect there an elite emerging in a socially differentiated society as early as the 3rd or 4th centuries AD. Then around 530 AD there had been a shift in material culture and settlement patterns, possibly in response to severe climatic disruption. Shifts and developments in social organisation can be detected all over central Sweden and around the Baltic region with boat graves a feature of seventh century elite burials not just in mid Sweden but also south in Bleking and east in Estonia. He saw the Valsgärde and Gamla Uppsala burial sites as elite constructions responding to the changed organisation of society. The sites became more elaborate then, marked by monumental mounds, artificial terraces and major halls.
  • Drawing of dancing warriors from the Valsgärde 7 helmet. This drawing and any others from Valsgärde 7 are incomplete because reconstruction of that corresponding section of the helmet was not possible. Rupert Bruce-Mitford. The Sutton Hoo ship burial (vol.2) (London: British Museum Publications, 1978). The motif on the pressbleck (decorative helmet plate) on the Sutton Hoo helmet of two dancing men, for instance, resembles strongly that of the dancing man on a pressbleck die from Torslunda in Sweden; almost identical in design to the Sutton Hoo pair of dancers is a spear-carrying dancing man appearing on a fragment from a pressbleck found in the Eastern Royal Mound at Gamla Uppsala. The pressbleck on the Sutton Hoo helmet of a mounted warrior riding down a swordsman, whilst a small figure behind him guides his spear, appears very similar to a pressbleck from Valsgärde 7 that shows a mounted warrior with a small horned figure also guiding his spear. The same craftsman may have been at work on both artefacts.
  • Drawing of dancing warriors from the Valsgärde 7 helmet. This drawing and any others from Valsgärde 7 are incomplete because reconstruction of that corresponding section of the helmet was not possible. Rupert Bruce-Mitford. The Sutton Hoo ship burial (vol.2) (London: British Museum Publications, 1978). The motif on the pressbleck (decorative helmet plate) on the Sutton Hoo helmet of two dancing men, for instance, resembles strongly that of the dancing man on a pressbleck die from Torslunda in Sweden; almost identical in design to the Sutton Hoo pair of dancers is a spear-carrying dancing man appearing on a fragment from a pressbleck found in the Eastern Royal Mound at Gamla Uppsala. The pressbleck on the Sutton Hoo helmet of a mounted warrior riding down a swordsman, whilst a small figure behind him guides his spear, appears very similar to a pressbleck from Valsgärde 7 that shows a mounted warrior with a small horned figure also guiding his spear. The same craftsman may have been at work on both artefacts.
  • The helmets found both at Vendel and Valsgärde, which have long been named Vendel helmets as a type, epitomize the Late Vendel Style in decoration, where humans and animals are clearly delineated and appear virtually natural in both form and fluidity. The helmets themselves are comprised of slightly differing physical characteristics, but for the most part consist of a brow band, a nose-to-nape band and other lateral bands that constitute the remainder of the framework.106 Other variations include a low cap with shallow concavities, which form part of the eyeholes (also known as an ocular), and a prominent crest with a medium spine embellished by animal heads on each side In general, the Vendel helmets are thought to have drawn directly on Roman prototypes (fig. 16). The helmet plate ornamentations from Vendel and Valsgärde are typically stylized in character with details that suggest their design had been acquired from the late Roman Iron Age. There are details on the Vendel helmets that are also found on late Roman crested helmets, the termination of the crest with an animal’s head, and the pictorial motif of warriors holding weaponry in their right hand.108 The Vendel artisans clearly improvised upon this theme, depicting warriors in full battle regalia with spears positioned in their hands.
  • DYEING SUTTON HOO NORDIC BLONDE: AN INTERPRETATION OF SWEDISH INFLUENCES ON THE EAST ANGLIAN GRAVESITE CasandraVasuA Thesis Submitted to the Graduate College of Bowling Green State University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of MASTER OF ARTS August 2008 Scholars have determined through the use of DNA that the boat graves in Vendel and Valsgärde were not only ancestral cemeteries, but that these interred families emanated from “the royal dynasty of the Svear in Uppsala, the so-called Ynglingar.The mounds at Gamla Uppsala yielded very little in terms of archaeological discoveries. Within the most easterly mound, Hildebrand “found a cairn 2.5 meters high built over a funeral pile. The grave itself, however, was disappointing: a simple urn containing the remains of cremated human and animal bones along with a number of fragmented objects. These objects included the remnants of gold filigree, glass, gaming pieces, and bronze and silver Pressblechfragments which many consider to be the remains of a helmet.”
  • he Benty Grange helmet is an archaeological artefact excavated by Thomas Bateman in 1848 from an Anglo-Saxon tumulus (or barrow) at the Benty Grange Farm in the civil parish of Monyash in the English county of Derbyshire.
  • One of the more intriguing aspects about the Street House cemetery is the arrangement of the graves that appear to form the square boundary to the cemetery (Figure 4). This is certainly unique in Anglo-Saxon England although a square arrangement for Anglo-Saxon cemeteries has been recognised elsewhere. The best examples of burials within a square plan re-use earlier monuments such as the graves within an Iron Age enclosure at Garton Station, Yorkshire (Stead 1991: 22). At Broomfield, Shropshire, 31 seventh-century graves lay in rows aligned E-W within the enclosure of an Iron Age farmstead (Stanford 1995). The degree of order within the cemetery at Street House is remarkable, with a double row of graves on the north and south sides that are equally spaced, being 2.5m from the east side of one grave to the next and the distance of 2m between the north of the outer row and the south of the inner row. This mathematical precision can be followed through three corners of the cemetery. This high degree of order within the cemetery suggests that the graves were marked out as one incident or event. No graves intercut: some graves contained stakeholes as possible grave markers, and there are three possible stone markers. The close date range of the objects, some being from Kent, the organisation of the cemetery, the significance of the aristocratic burial with low burial mound and the unfilled cemetery together suggest a group of people of high status from outside the region. In addition, there is a grubenhaus (sunken floored building) and a possible timber building within the cemetery. It is suggested, as a working hypothesis, that because of the status of the royal princess on the bed, she may have lain temporarily on a bed in the grubenhaus prior to mourners arriving at the 'funeral'. It is recognised that this ritual is unparalleled on this type of site, but then so much of what has been discovered at Street House was previously unknown in Northern England.
  • From the position of iron fittings within the grave we can tell that the bed in grave 42 was rectangular, approximately 1.8m by 0.80m by 0.30m with an inclined headboard attached by two stays of twisted iron on either side. Each side of the bed was made up of two horizontal planks, held together by a number of decorative iron cleats around the outside, of which at least nine examples survive. These cleats seem to have been fixed down each side at regular intervals and are unusual in shape, each being formed from a flat iron strip averaging 25mm wide, with each opposing end having been split in two and the resulting four ends bent back to make two opposing loops at each end. Figure 3. Gold objects from grave 42 comprising two beads one blue and a gold wire bead. Nearby were two cabochon pendants each of different design. The largest piece was a shield shaped pendant with over 50 cloisonné cells and a scalloped shaped gem in the centre. This pendant is unparalleled in Anglo-Saxon England. The scale is graduated at 1cm intervals. Click to enlarge.More complex ironwork decoration is also apparent at the head and at the foot of the bed. The top of each headboard stay has been attached to or flattened out to make a rectangular mount which grips the top edge of the headboard. At the foot end one similar mount survived. This example is slightly concave, suggesting that the top edge of the footboard was scalloped. A number of large headed and possibly decorated nails are also present on the foot. Each corner at the foot end also has an unusually large iron U-shaped staple which stood proud of the woodwork. This suggests that they could have held something, possibly carrying handles, although nothing similar was found at the head end. Gold objects from grave 42 comprising two beads one blue and a gold wire bead. Nearby were two cabochon pendants each of different design. The largest piece was a shield shaped pendant with over 50 cloisonné cells and a scalloped shaped gem in the centre. This pendant is unparalleled in Anglo-Saxon England. The scale is graduated at 1cm intervals.

5. F2012 Graves and Kings 5. F2012 Graves and Kings Presentation Transcript

  • Faith, Work (Kings), Death(Kings)
  • Consequences of Conversion• Emergence of Hiberno-Saxon style• Start of written Anglo-Saxon• Promotion of literacy in Latin and Anglo- Saxon
  • Consequences of Conversion• Written laws and charters• Mingling of church and state• Increased communication between regions
  • Masterpieces of Insular Art• Book of Durrow• Lindisfarne Gospels• Book of Kells
  • Book ofDurrow
  • Durrow- Mark
  • Sutton Hoo Shoulder ClaspLindisfarne Gospels
  • Comparison
  • Turn the pagesLindisfarne Gospels Luke 23:24-25 with Anglo-Saxon gloss
  • Book of Kells• Iona? before 806• 680 pages Vellum• Links to designs – Celtic stone carving and metalwork, – Byzantine – Coptic – Assyrian and – Armenian
  • Sutton Hoo1 Ship Burial2 Ship Burial3 Cremation w.horse 175,7 Cremation9 Burial w. horse 917 Warrior prince
  • Ship Burial
  • Anglo-Saxon and other ships Ship Length Width CrewSutton Hoo I 24 m 4.3 m 38 oarsSutton Hoo II 20 mSnape 14 m 3mGokstad (Viking) 23.2 m 5.2 m 32 oarsPinta Deck 17 m 5.4 m 26
  • Sutton Hoo, Grave with Offerings
  • Sutton Hoo -Pagan
  • A Royal Pillow, Down and textile remnants
  • North SeaContext
  • Shield
  • Sutton Hoo Shield Boss Vendel XII
  • Shield Details
  • Sutton Hoo- Pagan
  • Sutton Hoo-Christian?
  • Sutton HooReplica of lyre
  • Taplow, Drinking horn, late 6th C.
  • Sutton Hoo, Hanging Bowl
  • Shoulder clasps
  • Mound 17 SuttonHoo prince
  • Global Cooling - - ≳535-6• Procopius (536) “. . . the sun gave forth its light without brightness, like the moon, during this whole year, and it seemed exceedingly like the sun in eclipse . . .”• Anglo-Saxon chronicle(538, 540) two eclipses• Annals of Ulster (536) “Failure of bread”
  • Global Cooling - ≳535-6• Mongolian pine – Frost ring 536 – Cool spell to 545“The last decade-long cooling event was a.d.536–545 where dust veil, cold, famine, andplague was recorded in Byzantium and China.”Engvild “A review of the risks of sudden global cooling and its effectson agriculture” Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 115, 127-137(2003)
  • SwedenBoat BurialsRoyal Burials
  • Questions• Was the burial pattern at Sutton Hoo a product of a socially narrow dynastic elite? OR• Was there one produced and manifested throughout the whole of the populace.• Was there a common distinct Germanic culture throughout the various folk of the North, across the hinterland of the North Sea and the Baltic, expressed in burial patterns and iconography?
  • Gamla Uppsala
  • Cheek piece, Sutton Hoo Helmet panels Valsgärde 7
  • TorslundaCheek piece, Sutton Hoo Helmet panels Die
  • Sutton Hoo Helmets Valsgärde I
  • Sutton Hoo - Sweden• No animal sacrifice at Mound I – Animals at other mounds• Christian elements• Common: boar depictionCasandra Vasu An Interpretation of Swedish Influences On the East AnglianGravesite M.A. Thesis, Bowling Green State University 2008
  • Benty Grange, Derbyshire
  • Street HouseCemeterynr. Loftus, N. Yorkshire
  • Street HousePendant, Bed Burial
  • Sæberht• Nephew of Æthelberht• c. 604 East Saxon king under dominion of Æthelberht• Christian convert• d. ~616• Sons revert to paganism
  • Prittlewellhttp://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/• Prittlewell Priory (now a museum), Southend, Essex• Excavation 22nd October to 23rd December 2003
  • Burial chamberSouthend, Essex Rptd. 2/5/2004
  • Sæberht’s grave
  • Gold and silver finds6th and 7th centuries Staffordshire
  • Sword HiltsGold and silver6th and 7th centuries Staffordshire