1940-1982 British Museum Excavation and Research

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When Colonel Frank Pretty passed away in 1934, leaving a wife, a four year-old son, and a plot of expensive land in southeast England, certainly no one expected to discover 17 other wealthy dead men in his yard. It was widow, Edith Pretty, who looked to the spirits of the dead for comfort and guidance. Sutton Hoo stands out in importance because it comes from a period that lies just beyond the ambiguous fringes between documented history and mythical legend.
In 1910, a mansion with fifteen bedrooms was built a short distance from the mounds and in 1926 the mansion and its arable land was purchased by Colonel Frank Pretty, a retired military officer who had recently married. In 1934, Pretty died, leaving a widow Edith Pretty and young son1938-1939 beginnings of excavation by Basil Brown

1940-1982 British Museum excavation and research

Archeologist did not uncover remains of a human body, neither whole nor cremated, while unearthing the ship buried under Mound 1, which was the first discovery on the site in 1939. All artifacts indicated that the ship burial was for a king, but “the king seem[ed] to have missed the boat.”^ The corpse-less burial perplexed archeologists and scholars for decades. In the early 1950s, R. L. S. Bruce-Mitford suggested that the ship burial, in context of its surrounding cremations and inhumations, was likely a cenotaph – a monument to a deceased person whose body rests elsewhere. Bruce-Mitford speculated that the cenotaph might honor Anna (d. 654), the brother and predecessor of East Anglican King Æthelhere (d. 655), a Christian whose body is probably buried in Blythburgh, not far from Sutton Hoo.% This theory is problematic because Sutton Hoo is exclusively a pagan burial ground. At last, analysis o...

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