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Sutton Hoo purse lid

Purse lid

  • Close-up of some garnet cloisonné

    Close-up of some garnet cloisonné

  • Coins from Sutton Hoo

    Coins from Sutton Hoo

 

Length: 19.000 cm

Gift of Mrs E.M. Pretty

M&ME 1939,10-10,2

Room 2

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Sutton Hoo

Purse


The Anglo-Saxons liked to show off their wealth as much as people do today. This is the lid of a leather purse which held 37 coins. It is the richest one found from this time, with gold and garnet cloisonné decoration. Can you see a man standing between two wolves and an eagle? These animals meant strength and courage.

The purse itself had rotted away, but the coins inside turned out to be crucial in setting a date for the burial. The latest date for the coins was AD 620, so the person was probably buried soon after this. This makes sense because at that time East Anglia was the most powerful kingdom in the country.