Sue Brunning

Curator: Early Medieval European Insular Collections

Department: Prehistory and Europe 


+44 (0)20 7323 8736

Sue Brunning is responsible for the European Early Medieval Collections, dating from the fifth to eleventh centuries. Her research interests include weaponry and warrior culture; artefact biographies; the material culture of beliefs and cosmology; cross-cultural connections; multidisciplinary approaches to research; and the Sutton Hoo ship burial. Sue also co-convenes the UCL Institute of Archaeology / British Museum Medieval Seminar Series with Professor Andrew Reynolds.

Sue completed her PhD at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL in 2013. Her thesis explored perceptions of swords in Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian society between the fifth and eleventh centuries, drawing on archaeology, art and literature.

Current projects

Monograph on swords in early medieval Northern Europe
The Anglo-Saxon cemetery at St Peter’s Tip, Broadstairs, Kent
The archive and history of the Sutton Hoo display at the British Museum

Previous projects

Lead curator, refurbishment of Room 41, the Sir Paul and Lady Ruddock Gallery of Sutton Hoo and Europe, AD 300–1100 (opened March 2014)
Project curator, Highlights from the World of Sutton Hoo, Room 2, October 2011–late 2013

External fellowships/ honorary positions/ membership of professional bodies

Member of the Internationales Sachsensymposion
Member of the Society for Medieval Archaeology (council member 2014–17)
Member of the Finds Research Group

Recent publications

Brunning, S., 2018. Experiences on Room 41. In: Hohenstein, J. and Moussouri, T. (eds.), Museum Learning: Theory and Research as Tools for Enhancing Practice. London: Routledge, 99–101.

Brunning, S., 2017. Crossing Edges: ‘Person-like’ Swords in Anglo-Saxon England’, Life on the Edge: Social, Political and Religious Frontiers in Early Medieval Europe. Proceedings of 63 Internationales Sachsensymposion, Neue Studien zur Sachsenforschung 5, ed. Celia Orsini and Sarah Semple (Hannover: Braunschweigisches Landesmuseum).

Brunning, S., 2016. A Divination Staff from Viking-Age Norway at the British Museum. Acta Archaeologica 82, pp. 193–200

Brunning, S., 2015. ‘(Swinger of) the Serpent of Wounds': Swords and Snakes in the Viking Mind. In: Bintley, M. D. J. and Williams, T. J. T. (eds.), Representing Beasts in Early Medieval England and Scandinavia. Woodbridge: Boydell, pp. 53–72