Friday, June 13, 2008

Sutton Hoo

The greatest of death-fires
wound to the clouds,
roared before the mound;
heads melted away
wound-gates burst open,
the body's loathly cuts,
as blood sprang forth
flame, hungriest of spirits
Swallowed all those whom
battle took.....
Cremation from Beowulf

A visit to Sutton Hoo; One of the greatest Anglo Saxon treasures of this country, an exotic collection of finely wrought gold, great wealth and also a touch of homeliness in the gaming board in the covered boat burial. Elegantly long this boat, translating into the tangible excitement of Beowulf's poetry, a great epic drama of killing a terrible beast - Grendel and its loathsome mother both are locked into the storytelling of this boat. Saxon poetry which I love so much, grinding out its gloom and despair at the folly of man; magnificient thundering words accompanying beautifully made artifacts and fragments of all this are captured in the museum.
What of the site itself, great barrows ride gently on the waves of the land, the excavated barrow that revealed these treasures, has a steepsidedness that stands out. You walk round on a curving path, the day we went the rain came down gently, puddles of water to find a way around., a grey mistyness to the land and the trees that surround the site, appropiately fitting for a time lived years ago.

Reconstruction of the boat burial

Love the way they hang things on the wall

Gaming board

Reconstructed Sutton Hoo barrow

Sheltering umbrella
from the rain

Some of the other barrows

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