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Voyage to the Other World

Voyage to the Other World: The Legacy of Sutton Hoo

Calvin B. Kendall
Peter S. Wells
Volume: 5
Copyright Date: 1992
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 248
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttv0mr
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  • Book Info
    Voyage to the Other World
    Book Description:

    A fascinating exploration of pagan Anglo-Saxon culture-a world caught on the boundary between competing ideologies and contrasting social systems. Contributors: James Campbell, Martin Carver, Robert Payson Creed, Roberta Frank, Michael N. Geselowitz, Gloria Polizzotti Greis, Henrik M. Jansen, Simon Keynes, Edward Schoenfeld, Jana Schulman, Alan M. Stahl, Wesley M. Stevens, and Else Roesdahl.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8414-4
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
    CBK and PSW
  4. Introduction: Sutton Hoo and Early Medieval Northern Europe
    (pp. ix-xx)
    Calvin B. Kendall and Peter S. Wells

    The essays in this volume were occasioned by the fiftieth anniversary of the discovery of the ship burial at Sutton Hoo. Scholars from around the world gathered at special sessions on Sutton Hoo at the Twenty-fourth International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo and at a conference at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis in May 1989 to share their findings and to exchange ideas. In the essays collected here, participants from the Minnesota conference review the impact of Sutton Hoo over the past half-century and reconsider aspects of the culture of Anglo-Saxon England in the...

  5. Part I The Sutton Hoo Objects

    • CHAPTER 1 The Nature of the Sutton Hoo Coin Parcel
      (pp. 3-14)
      Alan M. Stahl

      The purse of the Sutton Hoo ship burial contained thirty-seven coins, three unstruck coin blanks, and two small ingots, all of gold. The coins whose origins can be determined were all struck in Merovingian Gaul in the late sixth and early seventh century.¹ The inclusion of these coins was a deliberate act by those who constructed the burial and must be seen as some sort of symbolic expression. This chapter examines whether the specific coins included also reflect a deliberate choice by these individuals or rather can be seen as a random sample of those coins that would have been...

    • CHAPTER 2 Sutton Hoo: An Economic Assessment
      (pp. 15-28)
      Edward Schoenfeld and Jana Schulman

      In 1939, when archaeologists began to uncover Mound 1 at Sutton Hoo, few dreamed of the wealth that was buried in it. The gold coins and jewelry, the silver utensils, the weapons and armor of iron and gilt bronze, and the imprint, preserved in the sand, of an exceptionally large ship, as well as other valuable items, were intended to accompany a powerful individual on his final journey.¹ While no one would argue that the burial was intended to send the person off in great style, scholars traditionally have tended to focus on the symbolic and the aesthetic approaches to...

    • CHAPTER 3 Sutton Hoo Art: Two Millennia of History
      (pp. 29-44)
      Gloria Polizzotti Greis and Michael N. Geselowitz

      It is well known among the recent generation of historians that the Dark Ages were not so dark as once supposed. Far from being the descent into barbarism envisioned by Henry Hallam, the centuries after the decline of the Roman Empire were a time of important political, spiritual, and artistic endeavor. The market structure of the Roman Empire was replaced by the Scandinavian emporia, which obtained through their Syrian partners goods from as far away as India and China.¹ The new Frankish kingdoms helped fill the political vacuum left by the dissolution of Roman rule, and the spread of Christianity...

  6. Part II Sutton Hoo and Beowulf

    • CHAPTER 4 Beowulf and Sutton Hoo: The Odd Couple
      (pp. 47-64)
      Roberta Frank

      Nineteen thirty-nine was special. It saw the end of the Spanish Civil War and the beginning of World War II. Hollywood’s creative energy peaked and in a few miraculous months producedNinotchka, The Wizard of Oz, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Stagecoach, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Dark Victory, Wuthering Heights, Gone with the Wind,and Bugs Bunny. The uranium atom was split, the New York World’s Fair opened, John Steinbeck publishedThe Grapes of Wrath,and Joe DiMaggio was named most valuable player in the American League. It was also fifty years ago that the first ship rivet in Mound 1...

    • CHAPTER 5 Sutton Hoo and the Recording of Beowulf
      (pp. 65-76)
      Robert Payson Creed

      In this chapter I suggest and offer some support for a new approach to prehistoric Germanic oral traditions. The approach is throughBeowulf, considered not as the work of a writer, but as the work, composed in performance, of a continuator of traditions many generations old. The approach depends upon a reading of the strata preserved in the performance: the uppermost stratum is that of the particular performance; the next lower stratum is that of the formulas and other traditional compositional devices. The second stratum has been explored by many scholars for forty years, beginning with Albert B. Lord’s doctoral...

  7. Part III Sutton Hoo and Anglo-Saxon History

    • CHAPTER 6 The Impact of the Sutton Hoo Discovery on the Study of Anglo-Saxon History
      (pp. 79-102)
      James Campbell

      The story of the effort to recover the reality of the early Anglo-Saxon past is in large measure one of a dialogue between archaeology and history. This dialogue got off to a good start in the work of the founder of modern Anglo-Saxon studies, John M. Kemble.¹ For example, he made key observations on the similarities between funerary pottery in Germany and in England. For many years his pioneering work seemed in vain. Thus William Stubbs in hisConstitutional History,for some decades from the 1870s a determinative work for the study of early England, made no use of archaeology,...

    • CHAPTER 7 Rædwald the Bretwalda
      (pp. 103-124)
      Simon Keynes

      The favored candidate for identification as the person buried or commemorated in Mound 1 at Sutton Hoo has long been Rædwald, king of East Anglia in the first quarter of the seventh century. He features in Bede’sEcclesiastical History,notably as the fourth in the famous list of kings who held sway over all the kingdoms south of the river Humber; and as such, he is among those who were later accorded the title “Bretwalda,” or “ruler of Britain.” The case for regarding Rædwald as the Man in the Mound is certainly compelling, and represents such a happy conjunction of...

    • CHAPTER 8 Sidereal Time in Anglo-Saxon England
      (pp. 125-152)
      Wesley M. Stevens

      From the manuscripts and the fragmentary materials that survive, it is possible to recognize the active scientific labors of Scots of Ireland, Britons of Wales and Cornwall, Saxons of Wessex, and Angles of Northumbria. These evidences of intellectual activities show that they were not merely occasional concerns or literary allusions. They are arithmetical calculations, geometric models of heaven and earth, complicatedargumentaabout solar and lunar cycles. The study of natural phenomena and the reckoning of their relationships were necessary for the organized life and the social relations of Christians in the British Isles, and those studies have left many...

  8. Part IV Sutton Hoo and Archaeology

    • CHAPTER 9 Princely Burial in Scandinavia at the Time of the Conversion
      (pp. 155-170)
      Else Roesdahl

      Research into Conversion-era Scandinavian princely burials and into Sutton Hoo involves many of the same problems: considering the results of old excavations, interpreting the absence of human bones, identifying the dead person, and taking into account the political and religious background of new burial customs and of particularly splendid burials, as well as possible Christian elements in a generally pagan-type burial. Unanswered questions and uncertain answers are many, but our understanding might be made clearer if late pagan princely burials were studied in a broader context, for despite the differences in time between the conversion of the individual Anglo-Saxon kingdoms...

    • CHAPTER 10 The Archaeology of Danish Commercial Centers
      (pp. 171-182)
      Henrik M. Jansen

      New archaeological evidence in Denmark helps to provide a context in which to view the Scandinavian connections so apparent in the Sutton Hoo burial. In 1986 one of the most important Danish finds in recent years was made close to Lundeborg on Funen. After a few weeks of excavations, we knew that we were excavating the oldest commercial center in Denmark, situated in the richest area of Migration-period Denmark, the Gudme region in southeast Funen.¹ So far, both chance finds and archaeological investigations in this area have led us to believe that this part of Funen can shed light on...

  9. Conclusion: The Future of Sutton Hoo
    (pp. 183-200)
    Martin Carver

    One of the central problems of archaeology is how to use our monuments for a greater understanding of early society, and the problem is particularly acute when the investigation of the monument means its destruction and the society in question is that of the Anglo-Saxons. If a monument is excavated in pursuit of a prognosis, it does not normally survive the operation, and we have effectively killed it, even if we killed it out of love. There is no recourse in the future to this monument, only to such records as were made, which in turn depended on such research...

  10. Contributors
    (pp. 201-202)
  11. Index
    (pp. 203-222)