Sutton Hoo - Mälardalen
Sammanfattning: In the 1930s, a boat-grave was found in Sutton Hoo, England. Soon after, it was noted to have several similarities to swedish boat-grave from the region of Mälardalen, specifically Vendel and Valsgärde. These graves are from the same period as the Sutton Hoo ship burial, in Sweden known as the Vendel period (550-750 AD). Since then there has been an ongoing discussion concerning how the Sutton Hoo ship-burial is or is not connected to these swedish boat-graves. This work is an insetion into this debate, with the aim to shed some further light on some of the questions discussed. The questions are: how similar is the Sutton Hoo boat-grave truly to the boat-graves from Vendel and Valsgärde, and why is there a boat-grave in Sutton Hoo during a time where such boat-graves are a scandinavian phenomenon? To answear these questions the complete material, the grave goods, from Sutton Hoo and the boat-graves in Vendel and Valsgärde that are dated roughly to the same time as Sutton Hoo (Valsgärde 6, 7, 8 and Vendel I, XI, XII, XIV) will be presented and compared. Therefore a large part of this work will be dedicated to the presentation of this material, both item by item and how these items has been arranged in each boat-grave. Three hypotheses are presented as possible answears to why a boat-grave is situated in England at this time: 1. Spontaneous unconnected development. 2. Direct contact between the Sutton Hoo region and the Mälardalen region. 3. Cultural exchange between the Sutton Hoo region and the Mälardalen region. This subject has been discussed before. Birger Nerman argued in 1948 the Sutton Hoo boat-grave to be the grave of a thoroughly swedish man. He based this on the significant similarities between the sword, helmet and shield of the Sutton Hoo boat-grave when compared to corresponding items from swedish boat-graves. Rupert Bruce-Mitford discuss the same items in 1975, and conclude to great similarities between these and theis swedish counterparts. He does, however, also point to similarities to other object, namely late-roman parade-helmets and shields from Lombardy. He also argues the Sutton Hoo boat-grave to be that of an early english roalty, of which he propose a number of candidates. David M. Wilson discuss these similarities further ina short article form 1982. He point to more similarities with materials from other places than Sweden, namely Germany and in extension the entirety of Northern Europe. He concludes the discussed items from Sutton Hoo, namely the sword, shield and helmet, need not be of swedish origin at all, and and argues Sutton Hoo to show connections to plenty of places, not only Sweden. Any similarities to the swedish boat-graves are random. All three researchers do, however, agree on the boat-grave as such to be a very strong connection to Sweden. After presentation and comparison between the boat-graves the following is concluded. There are bot significant similarities and dissimilarities between the graves. Swedish boat-graves contains weapons, helmets, shields, animals or parts of animals, drinking vessels, cauldrons, games and tools, of varying quantity but always arranged in a very specific pattern with minor deviations. Sutton Hoo contains weapns, helmet, shield and drinking vessels, but lack animals and tools. Also present is significant amounts of jewellery and imported items in the form of silver cups and spoons. The arrangement of the grave goods is very similar to the swedish pattern, but it is inverted. Sutton Hoo is particularly similar to the sweidsh boat-graves that are form almost the same date (the middle of the 7th century), namely Vendel I and XIV and Valsgärde 8, based on these graves containing a lower number of swords and shields, often only a single of each, as is the case of Sutton Hoo. Sutton Hoo seems to be a hybride, a grave where at least part of the rituals and expressions can be traced to the swedish tradition of boat-graves. The hypothesis most probable to be true is the third, cultural exchange. The similarities between the Sutton Hoo shib-burial and the swedish shib-burials are too great ot validate the first hypthesis, while they are too weak to validate the second hypothesis.
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