Exhibition will give chance to see most important Anglo-Saxon treasures

A hilt collar from an ornate seax hilt, part of the Staffordshire Hoard 

A hilt collar from an ornate seax hilt, part of the Staffordshire Hoard - Credit: The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent City Council

A special exhibition bringing together treasures from two of the most important Anglo-Saxon archaeological discoveries is set to take place later this spring. 

The famous ship burial site at Sutton Hoo will be hosting the display entitled ‘Swords of Kingdoms: The Staffordshire Hoard at Sutton Hoo’, which will unite artefacts found in Suffolk with some of the early medieval metalwork found in the West Midlands near Lichfield. 

The outline of Raedwald's burial ship at Sutton Hoo.

The outline of Raedwald's burial ship at Sutton Hoo. - Credit: Paul Geater

Among the items on show will be swords, war saddles, a royal helmet and a great war cross, as well as gold and garnet shoulder clasps, gold and garnet sword pyramids, three gold coins and a gold sword buckle. 

Visitors will have the chance to view the 60 historic items throughout the summer as the exhibition will be taking place at the National Trust site from May 19 until October 30. 

The Staffordshire Hoard is the largest haul of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver ever found and was unearthed by a metal detectorist close to the village of Hammerwich in 2009. 

Gold coins

Gold coins will be on display at Sutton Hoo - Credit: Trustees of the British Museum

The 3,500 items of treasure found there are believed to include ornaments made in workshops in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of East Anglia, making the exhibition something of a homecoming. 

The hoard was believed to have been buried between 650-675 in the kingdom of Mercia and consists predominantly of weaponry fittings that are believed to have come from between 100 and 150 different swords. 

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Alongside these objects, the display will also include items from the famous 1939 dig at Sutton Hoo, believed to be the grave of Raedwald, King of the East Angles with the find the subject of the Netflix film The Dig. 

Gold mount with horse head terminals, decorated with gold filigree

Gold mount with horse head terminals, decorated with gold filigree - Credit: The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent City Council

This will be the first major new exhibition hosted at Sutton Hoo since the completion of a £4million transformation project in 2021. 

Laura Howarth, archaeology and engagement manager at Sutton Hoo, said: “A celebration of a golden and garnet adorned age of exquisite Anglo-Saxon craftsmanship, I am delighted that we will soon be able to welcome visitors to our much-anticipated temporary exhibition Swords of Kingdoms. 

Sutton Hoo was discovered at a site near Woodbridge in 1939

Sutton Hoo will host the Swords of Kingdoms exhibition - Credit: Phil Morley

“It is such a special opportunity to be able to unite objects from the Staffordshire Hoard and across East Anglia with those found here at Sutton Hoo, objects which speak of the 7th-century warrior elite and a period of great change.” 

To book tickets, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/suttonhoo. Entry to the exhibition is included in the entry ticket, which is free for National Trust members.