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1 - The Kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England (450–1066)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 August 2023

Peter Cane
Affiliation:
Christ's College, Cambridge and Australian National University
H. Kumarasingham
Affiliation:
University of Edinburgh
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Summary

The discovery and excavation in 1939 of the ship-burial at Sutton Hoo, in Suffolk, brought to light an object which was immediately recognised as a piece of early seventh-century regalia – a sceptre, or symbol of its owner’s power from the kingdom of the East Angles.1 The power is presumed to be that of a king, buried with his regalia in his ship, amidst other objects symbolic of his exalted status, and indicative of his great wealth and extended connections. The further interpretation of such a magnificently mysterious object leads in many directions and remains a matter of informed speculation. It is enough that the object itself remains symbolic of whatever it had once been known to symbolise, and thereby of all that cannot be known about the earliest stages in the constitutional history of the United Kingdom.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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