Sutton Hoo Archaeology Excavation
Considered one of the most important discoveries of the 20th century. Colonel Frank Pretty and his wife Edith bought the property in 1926, located near Woodbridge, Suffolk, England. On the property were eighteen ancient mounds. After Fred died in 1934, Edith was determined to discover what might have been buried under them. Her husband had always believed something important was to be discovered. So, Edith hired amateur archaeologist Basil Brown to find out.
So in 1938, excavation began, and when the first artifacts were discovered, and the importance was obvious, Charles W. Phillips of Cambridge University was designated, supervisor. One of the greatest finds was the 88-foot long burial ship. This was believed to be the burial ship of King Raewald, who died in 625. Although the oak ship had long ago disintegrated, the ship's outline was clearly visible along with the iron rivets.
The Anglo-Saxon helmet was an exceptional find. The helmet can be found on several book covers and had a commemorative stamp by the British Museum commenorating their 250th anniversary in 2003.
Basil Brown, Discovered Sutton Hoo Archaeology Site
Basil Brown, although an amateur archaeologist and devoted to discoveries of ancient England. Brown began excavating in 1938, and the discoveries of such importance became apparent; he was never given credit for his discoveries. It was not until after his death in 1977 that the British Museum righted this wrong and added his name to the Sutton Hoo exhibit.
Because Ms. Pretty donated all the treasures to the British Museum along with her extensive charitable works and public service, Prime Minister Winston Churchill offered her the honor of the CNE medal. Ms. Pretty declined the honor, saying the treasure simply belonged to England. Edith died of a stroke in 1942 and is buried alongside her husband in Suffolk.
Stafford Hoard Discovered 2009 England
In 2009 with nothing but a used metal detector Terry Herbert, an unemployed amateur archaeologist, walked the land on a farm owned by Fred Johnson near Lichfield, U.K. It turned out to be valued at 5.3 million, making both Herbert and Johnson millionaires. The site was in the Village of Hammerwick.
The Hoard consisted of over 4000 pieces of gold and silver with some garnets embedded into the gold. This treasure was buried over 1300 years ago from the 7th century. It appears that most of the certificates belonged to elite warriors as they were from the hilts and pommels(knobs) of swords. The artistry of the crafters was of the highest quality.
When Herbert discovered his first find, he immediately reported it to the Portable Antiquities office in Staffordshire, which is run by the British Museum. It was so important the English Heritage funded an excavation covering 55 square miles.
It will probably never be known who or why the hoard was buried. Theories suggest it could have been an offering to the gods, a tribute to the soldiers, or it could be that it was hidden from attackers.
The discoveries are jointly owned by the Birmingham council and the Stoke-on Trent council. They are displayed among four places; the Pottiers Museum, the Birmingham Museum, Lichfield Cathedral, and Tamworth Castle.
A Rift Between Herbert and Johnson
An unfortunate rift between Herbert and Johnson occurred even though both became millionaires. Herbert indicated that Johnson believed it all belonged to him, and he shouldn't have to share it. Johnson was quoted as saying, "I never want to see that fellow again." Johnson built a new home on his farm and lives there today. Herbert moved away and has a new bungalow.
The public is the one that has benefited from these historical treasures and to learn about the history of England.
fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on June 19, 2021:
Pamela, gracious comments from you. So glad you liked the article. Almost wish I could go back in time to see history first hand. Thanks for your visit.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on June 19, 2021:
This is a fascinating article, Fran. What a find! It would be so interesting to know exactly why all this treasure was buried in the first place. I really enjoyed seeing all those pictures and reading the information. Thanks, Fran for a great article.