adapted from a design by George Bain based on the Book of Kells home Programme Bookings Shop The Wuffings .
Wuffing Education

Barrows and Barrow-Burial – 400-700 AD

Mound 3 at Sutton Hoo, January 2009 (Sam Newton)

with Steve Pollington

at Tranmer House, Sutton Hoo (map)
on Saturday 7th March 2009

An archaeological and literary exploration of the traditions associated with burial in mounds.

Provisional Programme
  10.00 Coffee on arrival  
  10.15 Background to Barrow Burial
The tradition of raising a mound over the grave of an important person is found widely in human societies, but the specifically European tradition stems from the cultures of western Asia, the so-called ‘kurgan peoples’. We will trace the idea through eastern and Central Europe to the Jastorf and Wielbark Cultures which emerge into history in the early centuries AD. We will also look at the British Bronze Age barrow tradition, which mirrors the Anglo-Saxon one in some respects.
  11.15 Coffee  
  11.45 Chambers of Secrets
Anglo-Saxon barrows can be divided into four main groups: insertion graves, chamber burials, princely burials and ship-graves. We will look at the construction and artefact types found in each, as well as their distribution.
  12.45 Lunch break  
  14:00 Meduseld ~ Wælheall
The role of the barrow-burial as a representation of war and peace will be explored, as well as the meaning of ship-burial and horse-burial.
  15:00 Tea break  
  15:15 The Otherworld
What can barrow-burial and other forms of disposal of the dead tell us about Anglo-Saxon attitudes to the afterlife?
  16:15 Close  

About Steve Pollington

Steve Pollington has been active in the field of Old English studies for over twenty years. Aside from authoring a dozen books on various aspects of early English culture and language, he has recorded CDs, worked as a script advisor for television, appeared on television and radio, and contributed to the prestigious Oxford Companion to Military History.

Some suggestions for further reading
(useful but not essential)

Evans, A.C., The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial (British Museum 1986)
Grinsell, L.V., The Ancient Burial-Mounds of England (London 1936)
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)
Pollington, S., Anglo-Saxon Burial Mounds (Anglo-Saxon Books 2008)


Please phone or email to check the availability of places and then send the application form and a cheque for £38, payable to Wuffing Education to:

Wuffing Education,
4 Hilly Fields,
Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 4DX
(tel : 01394 386498)

Email cliff AT
(replace 'AT' by '@' in order to send email - we used 'AT' to avoid spam robots automatically sending us emails)

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