Anglo-Saxon Barrows in the Landscape
with Steve Pollington (Independent Scholar in Anglo-Saxon Studies)
and Dr Sam Newton (Wuffing Education at Sutton Hoo)
at Sutton Hoo on Saturday, 21st October, 2017

Barrow-burial – burial within a large artificial mound – is one of the more spectacular means of disposing of the dead. We owe a great deal of what we understand of Anglo-Saxon material culture and trade contacts to these high-status interments. During the morning Steve will look at barrow burial in its wider European and Scandinavian contexts, the distribution of barrows in England, the methods used in their construction, the social meaning of barrow burial, and the ways in which such tombs influenced medieval thought on the Otherworld.

During the afternoon Sam will explore some of the barrows of Suffolk close to Sutton Hoo as well other interesting barrows in the wider landscape of East Anglia.

Provisional Programme

09.50 – 10.15:                Coffee on arrival

10.15 – 11.15:                Background to the Barrow Tradition (SP)

11.15 – 11.40:                Coffee break

11.40 – 12.40:                Wælheall and Meduseld / War and Peace (SP)

12.40 – 14.00:                Lunch break

14.00 – 14.50:                 The Barrows of Suffolk (SN)

14.50 – 15.10:                Tea break

15.10 – 16.00:                The Barrows of East Anglia (SN)

  1. 16.00: Thanks and Close


Some Suggestions for Optional Background Reading

  • Bruce-Mitford, R., Aspects of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology (Gollancz 1974).
  • Evans, A.C., The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial (British Museum 1986)
  • Green, C., Sutton Hoo: The Excavation of a Royal Ship-Burial (Merlin 1963, 1968, 1988).
  • Grinsell, L.V., The Ancient Burial-Mounds of England (London 1936)
  • Hoggett, R., The Archaeology of the East Anglian Conversion. (Woodbridge 2010).
  • Lawson, A.J., E.A.Martin, & D.Priddy, The Barrows of East Anglia, East Anglian Archaeology Report No.12 (1981).
  • Lucy, S., & A.Reynolds (eds), Burial in Early Mediaeval England and Wales, Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph 17 (London 2002)
  • Lucy, S., The Anglo-Saxon Way of Death (Sutton 2000)
  • Parker-Pearson, M., The Archaeology of Death and Burial (Stroud 1999)
  • Plunkett, S.J., Sutton Hoo (National Trust 2002).
  • Pollington, S., The Mead-Hall. The feasting tradition in Anglo-Saxon England (Anglo-Saxon Books 2003).
  • Pollington, S., Anglo-Saxon Burial Mounds (Anglo-Saxon Books 2008)
  • Webster, L. & J.Backhouse (eds.), The Making of England. Anglo-Saxon Art and Culture AD 600-900 (London 1991).
  • Some Useful Websites


About Steve Pollington

Stephen many published titles include works on the Old English language, military culture, healing and herblore, runes and feasting in the ‘meadhall’, as well as a double CD of readings in Old English.  He has lectured widely on aspects of Anglo-Saxon culture since 1991, from local history to the details of verse metre, from theories of the origins of the Germanic runes to the handling of Anglo-Saxon weaponry. He has worked on a number of television and radio programmes, and was script advisor to the ground-breaking 1000 AD, in which dramatic dialogue was spoken entirely in Old English and Old Norse. For more on Stephen and his work, see his website at .

About Dr Sam Newton

Sam Newton was awarded his Ph.D at UEA in 1991.  He published his first book, The Origins of Beowulf and the pre-Viking Kingdom of East Anglia, in 1993, and his second, The Reckoning of King Rædwald: the Story of the King linked to the Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial, in 2003. He has lectured widely around the country and has contributed to many radio and television programmes, especially Time Team.  He is a tutor for Cambridge University’s Institute of Continuing Education, an accredited NADFAS lecturer, and a Director of the Wuffing Education Study-Day Partnership at Sutton Hoo.