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Sutton Hoo and it’s Landscape

28 April 2010

In Sutton Hoo and it’s Landscape: the context of monuments, Tom Williamson, Oxbow:2009, there is some interesting speculative ideas. The author is a landscape archaeologist based at the University of East Anglia and he looks at the barrows and where they are located as visible features on the horizon. They are situated on a terrace above the river Deben which at the time was well populated with farms and hamlets clustered around the lower river valley, and the estuary that opens into the North Sea. The barrow group is actually placed at the boundary of tilled land, where the poor soils of the heathlands come close to the estuary. All the barrows are located with a good view of the river – and are situated parallel to the course of the Deben. However, what caught my eye was the fact that the location is on the boundary of Iron Age Iceni territory, dividing their tribal lands from the Trinovantes. It must therefore have persisted as a boundary between civitas during the Roman period to be reinforced in the Dark Ages only to become the dividing line between the Scandinavian zone of settlement and that of the Saxons (Essex). Remarkable.

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