The Anglo-Saxons

The Anglo-Saxons

What do you know about the Anglo-Saxons? I think that a lot of non-English people confuse ‘Anglo-Saxon’ with English. You couldn’t be more wrong. Here is a sample of the Anglo Saxon language:

Swa cwæð eardstapa,

earfeþa gemyndig

wraþra wælsleahta

winemæga hryre


Not much like English, is it! So who were they? Well, when the last Roman soldiers left Britain in AD 410, new settlers came in ships across the North Sea. These are known as the Anglo-Saxons, but they were from north Germany, Denmark and northern Holland. Most were Saxons, Angles and Jutes but there were Franks and Frisians too.

The best Anglo-Saxon archaeological treasure ever found was discovered at the Sutton Hoo burial site and dates to the early AD 600s, when Sutton Hoo belonged to the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of East Anglia.

In 1939, just before World War II, an archaeologist called Basil Brown was excavating some grassy mounds on a small hill above the river Deben in Suffolk when he found Anglo-Saxon objects that had been buried with their owners.However, when he focused on Mound 1, he uncovered the most amazing set of Anglo Saxon objects ever found. For example, a magnificent helmet engraved with human and animal images which had broken into 500 pieces. It took conservators a year to put it back together like a giant 3D jigsaw puzzle. There is also an enormous stone sceptre with a stag on the top. Other items include a sword, shoulder clasps, bowls, spoons, buckles and shoulder clasps.

However, what many find most amazing is the ship found on the site. It is the largest Anglo-Saxon ship ever unearthed. The 27-metre ship had been pulled up a slope from the River Deben to the burial ground above. Over the centuries, its wooden oak planks and ribs decayed and were replaced by compacted sand. This left a clear impression of the hull in the ground, studded with iron rivets.

If you would like to know more about Sutton Hoo, then visit the fabulous photo gallery and explanation of this find at or learn all about the Anglo-Saxons at


Juliet Allaway

Written by editor