Sutton Hoo - Classroom archaeology in the digital age

Primary History case study

By Nuffield Primary History Project, published 9th August 2010

Please note: this article pre-dates the 2014 National Curriculum and some content and links may be outdated.

The class had composed its Anglo-Saxon funeral poem for Raedwald, an Anglo-Saxon king,, the high king or Bretwalda of all seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in the early seventh century as well as being King of the East Angles in his own right. The poem ended in exultation, welcoming Raedwald into the after life. At that point I realized I was teaching in a Catholic school!

For over thirty years we have been simulating the excavation of the Sutton Hoo burial ship at Woodbridge, Suffolk. We involve pupils as history detectives in the visceral excitement of excavating and discovering the mystery objects in the burial mound's grave, interpreting them and reconstructing the burial and its significance through archaeological investigation involving, for example, drama: expressive movement; creative, poetic, dialogic and discursive writing; modelling; discussion and debate...

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