A cylinder seal is a small round cylinder about one inch in length, engraved with written characters or figurative scenes or both, used in ancient times to roll an impression onto a two-dimensional surface wet clay. Cylinder seals were invented around 3500 BC in the Near East, at the contemporary sites of Uruk in southern Mesopotamia and later at Susa in south-western Iran during the Proto-Elamite period, they are linked to the invention of the latter’s cuneiform writing on clay tablets. They were used as an administrative tool, a form of signature, as well as jewelry and as magical amulets. In periods, they were used to notarize or attest to multiple impressions of clay documents. Graves and other sites housing precious items such as gold, silver and gemstones included one or two cylinder seals, as honorific grave goods; the cylinder seals themselves are made from hardstones, some are a form of engraved gem. They may instead use glass or ceramics, like Egyptian faience. Many varieties of material such as hematite, steatite, lapis lazuli and carnelian were used to make cylinder seals.
As the alluvial country of Mesopotamia lacks good stone for carving, the large stones of early cylinders were imported from Iran. Most seals have a hole running through the centre of the body, they are thought to have been worn on a necklace so that they were always available when needed. While most Mesopotamian cylinder seals form an image through the use of depressions in the cylinder surface, some cylinder seals print images using raised areas on the cylinder; the former are used on wet clays. Cylinder seals are a form of impression seal, a category which includes the stamp seal and finger ring seal, they survive in large numbers and are important as art in the Babylonian and earlier Assyrian periods. Impressions into a soft material can be taken without risk of damage to the seal, they are displayed in museums together with a modern impression on a small strip. Cylinder seal impressions were made on a variety of surfaces: amulets bales of commodities bricks clay tablets cloth components of fabricated objects doors envelopes storage jars The images depicted on cylinder seals were theme-driven sociological or religious.
Instead of addressing the authority of the seal, a better study may be of the thematic nature of the seals, since they presented the ideas of the society in pictographic and text form. In a famous cylinder depicting Darius I of Persia: he is aiming his drawn bow at an upright enraged lion impaled by two arrows, while his chariot horse is trampling a deceased lion; the scene is framed between two slim palm trees, a block of cuneiform text, above the scene, the Faravahar symbol of Ahura Mazda, the god representation of Zoroastrianism. The reference below, covers many of the following categories of cylinder seal. Dominique Collon's book First Impressions, dedicated to the topic, has over 1000 illustrations. A categorization of cylinder seals: Akkadian cylinder seals. Akkadian seal, ca. 2300 BC, stone seal w/ modern impression. See National Geographic Ref; the glyptic shows "God in barge", offerings. Assyrian cylinder seals. Cypriote Cylinder Seals. Egyptian cylinder seals. Predynastic Egyptian Naqada era graves.
Egyptian Faience. Hittite cylinder seals. Clay envelope usage, etc.. Kassite, cylinder seals. Mittanian cylinder seals. Old Babylonian cylinder seals. Persian cylinder seals. Proto-Elamite cylinder seals. Sumerian cylinder seals. Seals of the "Moon-God". See Ref. Seal of Ur-Nammu, 2112-2095 BC. Close-up picture of Seal, adjacent'modern impression', high resolution, 2X-3X natural size. "Shamash pictographic seals". Neo-Sumerian cylinder seals. See Ref, "Seated God, Worshippers", Cylinder seal, a modern Impressin, p. 40. Syrian cylinder seals. Ancient Near Eastern seals and sealing practices Seal Impression seal Stamp seal LMLK seal Mudbrick stamp Scaraboid seal Bahn, Paul. Lost Treasures, Great Discoveries in World Archaeology, Ed. by Paul G. Bahn, c 1999. Examples of, or discussions of Stamp seals, cylinder seals and a metal stamp seal. Collon, Dominique. First Impressions, Cylinder Seals in the Ancient Near East, 1987, 2005. Comprehensive and up to date account, with many illustrations; the author has compiled several of the volumes cataloging the collection of cylinder seals in the British Museum.
Collon, Dominique. Near Eastern Seals, 1990. Shorter account which includes stamp seals. Part of the BM's Interpreting the Past series Frankfort, H. Cylinder Seals, 1939, London. A classic, though doesn't reflect research. Garbini, Giovanni. Landmarks of the World's Art, The Ancient World, by Giovanni Garbini, General Eds, Bernard S. Myers, New York, Trewin Copplestone, London, c 1966. "Discussion, or pictures of about 25 cylinder seals". Metropolitan Museum of Art. Cuneiform Texts in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Tablets and Bricks of the Third and Second Millennia B. C. vol. 1 (New Yor
Gebel el-Arak Knife
The Gebel el-Arak Knife is an ivory and flint knife dating from the Naqada II d period of Egyptian prehistory, starting circa 3450 BC, showing Mesopotamian influence. The knife was purchased in 1914 in Cairo by Georges Aaron Bénédite for the Louvre, where it is now on display in the Sully wing, room 20. At the time of its purchase, the knife handle was alleged by the seller to have been found at the site of Gebel el-Arak, but it is today believed to come from Abydos; the Gebel el-Arak knife was bought for the Louvre by the philologist and Egyptologist Georges Aaron Bénédite in February 1914 from a private antique dealer, M. Nahman, in Cairo. Bénédite recognised the artefact's extraordinary state of preservation as well as its archaic date. On 16 March 1914, he wrote to Charles Boreux head of the département des Antiquités égyptiennes of the Louvre, about the item the unsuspecting dealer had offered him, it was: an archaic flint knife with an ivory handle of the greatest beauty. This is the masterpiece of predynastic sculpture executed with remarkable elegance.
This is a work of great detail and the interest of what is represented extends beyond the artistic value of the artefact. On one side is a hunting scene. At the top of the hunting scene the hunter wears a large Chaldean garment: he head is covered by a hat like that of our Gudea and he grasps two lions standing against him. You can judge the importance of this asiatic representation we will own one of the most important prehistoric monuments, if not more, it is, in tangible and summary form, the first chapter of the history of Egypt. At the time of purchase, its blade and handle were separated, as the seller did not realise that they fitted together. Boreux proposed that the knife be restored, that the blade and handle be joined together; this was done in March 1933 by Léon André, who worked on consolidating the ensemble, conserving the ivory handle. The most recent restoration of the knife was undertaken in 1997 by Juliette Lévy. At the time of its purchase by Bénédite, the knife handle was said by the dealer to have been found at the site of Gebel el-Arak, a plateau near the village of Nag Hammadi, 40 kilometres south of Abydos.
However, the knife's true provenance is indicated by Bénédite in his letter to Boreux. He wrote: the seller did not suspect that the flint belonged with the handle and presented it to me as witness of the recent finds from Abydos; that the knife did indeed originate from Abydos is supported by the otherwise total absence of archaeological finds from Gebel el-Arak, while intensive excavations by Émile Amélineau, Flinders Petrie, Édouard Naville and Thomas Eric Peet were taking place at this time at the Umm el-Qa'ab, the necropolis of predynastic and early dynastic rulers in Abydos. The blade of the knife is made of homogenous finely grained yellowish flint, a type of Egyptian flint called chert. Flint is available in Egypt, from Cairo to Esna, but the blades of ceremonial flint knives were made of caramel colored chert because this colour resembles that of metal; the blade was produced from the original stone in five stages: Roughing of the original stone. Preformation of the blade by percussion flaking.
Polishing of both sides of the blade. This operation is required before the ripple-flaking. One side of the blade was left polished and did not receive further work, thus showing a smooth ground surface, maybe to imitate a metal blade. Ripple-flaking on one side of the blade; this consists in uniformly removing long and thin strips of stone with parallel pressure flaking, creating a regular pattern of S undulations on the surface of the stone. Analysis of the shock waves on the surface of the blade reveals they were produced from the top to the bottom of the blade and from left to right, in a counterclockwise fashion; this work was made with pointed copper tools. The ripple-flaking of this side of the blade has no incidence on its sharpness, indicating that it may have served an artistic purpose. Fine serration of the edge of the blade by micro-flaking; this step produces the sharpness of the blade. The blade of the Gebel el-Arak knife as well as of other ripple-flake knives of the same period are considered the high point of the silex tool making techniques.
Specialists of the Predynastic period of Egypt, such as Béatrix Midant-Reynes, argue that the quality and amount of work required for the creation of the blade goes beyond what is required for a functional knife. Thus the purpose and value of the knife would be artistic, the blade being a demonstration of technical skills aiming at the beauty of the result; this hypothesis is strengthened by a detailed use-wear analysis of the blade which demonstrates that the knife has never been used. The blade weights 92.3 grams, its precise dimensions are as follows: The handle is made of the ivory of an elephant tusk, not from a hippopotamus canine tooth as was first thought. The handle was carved along the axis of the tusk, as evidenced by a dark spot located above the head of the "Master of Animals", the tip of pulp cavity of the tusk. Once extracted from the tusk, the handle was polished on both sides and hollowed out to receive the blade; the thickness of the handle around the tang of the blade varies from 2 to 3 millimetres, which explains that the ivory is cracked there, with some pieces lost.
At the bottom of the handle, the edge was beveled, received a crimp of precious metal that would have reinforced the assemblage of the handle with the blade. At the time of the purchase, Bénédite reported that he could see traces of gold leaf on the bottom of the
The stamp seal is a carved object stone, first made in the 4th millennium BC, earlier. They were used to impress their inscription into soft, prepared clay. Seal devices have survived through time. A major exception are the cylinder seals made of stone, of which examples of their ancient impressions have survived as well, the majority being of clay tablets sealed as an authentication. Different from the Minoan stamp-seals, the Indus stamp-seals have a different function from the stamp seals of the Minoan civilization, as they have script characters, with still undeciphered associations. Ancient Near Eastern seals and sealing practices Bulla Cylinder seal Impression seal Indus script LMLK seals from Lachish, ca 700 BCE. MMST Seal Tell Halaf Garbini. Landmarks of the World's Art, The Ancient World, by Giovanni Garbini, General Eds, Bernard S. Myers, New York, Trewin Copplestone, London, c 1966. Numerous examples of the Cylinder seal. No impressions thereof. P. Yule, Early Cretan Seals: A Study of Chronology.
Marburger Studien zur Vor und Frühgeschichte 4, ISBN 3-8053-0490-0http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/yule1981/ Online Detail of Stamp seal-Medium Res.
Luristan bronzes are small cast objects decorated with bronze sculptures from the Early Iron Age which have been found in large numbers in Lorestān Province and Kermanshah in western Iran. They include a great number of ornaments, weapons, horse-fittings and a smaller number of vessels including situlae, those found in recorded excavations are found in burials; the ethnicity of the people who created them remains unclear, though they may well have been Persian related to the modern Lur people who have given their name to the area. They date to between about 1000 and 650 BC; the bronzes tend to use openwork, like the related metalwork of Scythian art. They represent the art of a nomadic or transhumant people, for whom all possessions needed to be light and portable, necessary objects such as weapons, horse-harness fittings, pins and small fittings are decorated over their small surface area. Representations of animals are common goats or sheep with large horns, the forms and styles are distinctive and inventive.
The "Master of Animals" motif, showing a human positioned between and grasping two confronted animals is common but highly stylized. Some female "mistress of animals" are seen. Luristan bronze objects came to the notice of the world art market from the late 1920s and were excavated in considerable quantities by local people, "wild tribesmen who did not encourage the competition of qualified excavators", taken through networks of dealers, latterly illegally, to Europe or America, without information about the contexts in which they were found. Previous sporadic examples reaching the West had been assigned to various places, including Armenia and Anatolia. There is strong suspicion that the many thousands of pieces sourced from the art trade include some forgeries. Since 1938 several scientific excavations have been conducted by American, British and Iranian archaeologists on the cemeteries in areas including the northern Pish Kuh valleys and the southern Pusht Kuh of Lorestān. How these cemeteries related to contemporary settlements remains unclear.
Somewhat curiously, two characteristic Luristan pieces have been excavated in the Greek world, on Samos and Crete, but none in other parts of Iran or the Near East. The term "Luristan bronze" is not used for earlier bronze artifacts from Lorestān between the fourth millennium BC and the Bronze Age, although they are quite similar; these earlier bronze objects, including those from the Elamite Empire, which included Lorestān, were broadly similar to those found in Mesopotamia and on the Iranian Plateau, though as in the pieces, animals are a common subject in small bronze pieces. From before the period of the canonical bronzes, a number of daggers or short swords said to come from Luristan are inscribed with the names of Mesopotamian kings reflecting patterns of military service; the area had, before the period of the bronzes, been the original home of the Kassites, who spoke a non-Iranian language under the control of the Iranian-speaking Medes. For most of the period of the bronzes it was, at least in theory, part of the Neo-Assyrian Empire.
As a mountainous rural region, what the rise and fall of these empires meant for the region remains uncertain. The few pieces attributed to Luristan that carry inscriptions are unrecorded pieces from the antiquities market. Archaeologists divide the periods producing the bronzes in "Luristan Late Iron" I to III. Luristan Late Iron II was less productive, remains less well understood. Dates for these periods "remain fluid" but "it is possible to suggest that the material from Luristan Iron I was manufactured in the years around 1000 B. C. that of Iron II about 900/800–750, that of Iron III about 750/725–650."The stylistic development of the pieces is now thought to be from naturalistic depictions of humans and animals towards stylization, though it is not yet clear if this was a consistent trend. This reverses the trend proposed by one of the earliest writers on the bronzes. Though there is a wide range of objects, certain types are common and hence "canonical". Among the most characteristic are a range of objects with a hollow socket or open ring, designed to be fixed at the top of a pole or other vertical support using a separate intervening fitting.
These may be described as finials and tubes. Unlike some other types of objects few of this group have been found by the archaeological explorations, they may have been used with perishable elements that have not survived, either as additional decoration or to hold the ensemble together. Many ideas for their function have been suggested, without any general consensus being reached; the numbers surviving suggest that the objects were not rare, may have been affordable by most families. Taking the groups in what is now considered to be their broad chronological sequence, the first are the "animal finials", with two rampant confronted animals a pair of large-horned ibex or felines, facing each other with a central tube or
Anglo-Saxon art covers art produced within the Anglo-Saxon period of English history, beginning with the Migration period style that the Anglo-Saxons brought with them from the continent in the 5th century, ending in 1066 with the Norman Conquest of a large Anglo-Saxon nation-state whose sophisticated art was influential in much of northern Europe. The two periods of outstanding achievement were the 7th and 8th centuries, with the metalwork and jewellery from Sutton Hoo and a series of magnificent illuminated manuscripts, the final period after about 950, when there was a revival of English culture after the end of the Viking invasions. By the time of the Conquest the move to the Romanesque style is nearly complete; the important artistic centres, in so far as these can be established, were concentrated in the extremities of England, in Northumbria in the early period, Wessex and Kent near the south coast. Anglo-Saxon art survives in illuminated manuscripts, Anglo-Saxon architecture, a number of fine ivory carvings, some works in metal and other materials.
Opus Anglicanum was recognised as the finest embroidery in Europe, although only a few pieces from the Anglo-Saxon period remain – the Bayeux Tapestry is a rather different sort of embroidery, on a far larger scale. As in most of Europe at the time, metalwork was the most regarded form of art by the Anglo-Saxons, but hardly any survives – there was enormous plundering of Anglo-Saxon churches and the possessions of the dispossessed nobility by the new Norman rulers in their first decades, as well as the Norsemen before them, the English Reformation after them, most survivals were once on the continent. Anglo-Saxon taste favoured brightness and colour, an effort of the imagination is needed to see the excavated and worn remains that survive as they once were; the best known piece of Anglo-Saxon art is the Bayeux Tapestry, commissioned by a Norman patron from English artists working in the traditional Anglo-Saxon style. Anglo-Saxon artists worked in fresco, stone and whalebone, metalwork and enamel, many examples of which have been recovered through archaeological excavation and some of which have been preserved over the centuries in churches on the Continent, as the Vikings and Reformation iconoclasm between them left nothing in England except for books and archaeological finds.
Metalwork is the only form in which the earliest Anglo-Saxon art has survived in Germanic-style jewelry which was, before the Christianization of Anglo-Saxon England placed in burials. After the conversion, which took most of the 7th century, the fusion of Germanic Anglo-Saxon and Late Antique techniques and motifs, together with the requirement for books, created Hiberno-Saxon style, or Insular art, seen in illuminated manuscripts and some carved stone and ivory mostly drawing from decorative metalwork motifs, with further influences from the British Celts of the west and the Franks; the Kingdom of Northumbria in the far north of England was the crucible of Insular style in Britain, at centres such as Lindisfarne, founded c. 635 as an offshoot of the Irish monastery on Iona, Monkwearmouth-Jarrow Abbey which looked to the continent. At about the same time as the Insular Lindisfarne Gospels was being made in the early 8th century, the Vespasian Psalter from Canterbury in the far south, which the missionaries from Rome had made their headquarters, shows a wholly different, classically based art.
These two styles mixed and developed together and by the following century the resulting Anglo-Saxon style had reached maturity. However Anglo-Saxon society was massively disrupted in the 9th century the half, by the Viking invasions, the number of significant objects surviving falls and their dating becomes vaguer than of those from a century before. Most monasteries in the north were closed for decades, if not forever, after the Canterbury Bible of before 850 well before, "no major illuminated manuscript is known until well on into the tenth century". King Alfred held the Vikings back to a line running diagonally across the middle of England, above which they settled in the Danelaw, were integrated into what was now a unified Anglo-Saxon kingdom; the final phase of Anglo-Saxon art is known as the Winchester School or style, though it was produced in many centres in the south of England, the Midlands also. Elements of this begin to be seen from around 900, but the first major manuscripts only appear around the 930s.
The style combined influences from the continental art of the Holy Roman Empire with elements of older English art, some particular elements including a nervous agitated style of drapery, sometimes matched by figures in line drawings, which are the only images in many manuscripts, were to remain prominent in medieval English art. Early Anglo-Saxon manuscript illumination forms part of Insular art, a combination of influences from Mediterranean and Germanic styles that arose when the Anglo-Saxons encountered Irish missionary activity in Northumbria, at Lindisfarne and Iona in particular. At the same time the Gregorian mission from Rome and its successors imported continental manuscripts like the Italian St. Augustine Gospels, for a considerable period the two styles appear mixed in a variety of proportions in Anglo-Saxon manuscripts. In the Lindisfarne Gospels, of around 700–715, there are carpet pages and Insular initials of unprecedented complexity and sophistication, but the evang
Ur was an important Sumerian city-state in ancient Mesopotamia, located at the site of modern Tell el-Muqayyar in south Iraq's Dhi Qar Governorate. Although Ur was once a coastal city near the mouth of the Euphrates on the Persian Gulf, the coastline has shifted and the city is now well inland, on the south bank of the Euphrates, 16 kilometres from Nasiriyah in modern-day Iraq; the city dates from the Ubaid period circa 3800 BC, is recorded in written history as a city-state from the 26th century BC, its first recorded king being Mesannepada. The city's patron deity was Nanna, the Sumerian and Akkadian moon god, the name of the city is in origin derived from the god's name, URIM2KI being the classical Sumerian spelling of LAK-32. UNUGKI "the abode of Nanna"; the site is marked by the restored ruins of the Ziggurat of Ur, which contained the shrine of Nanna, excavated in the 1930s. The temple was built in the 21st century BC, during the reign of Ur-Nammu and was reconstructed in the 6th century BC by Nabonidus, the last king of Babylon.
The ruins cover an area of 1,200 metres northwest to southeast by 800 metres northeast to southwest and rise up to about 20 metres above the present plain level. The city, said to have been planned by Ur-Nammu, was divided into neighborhoods, with merchants living in one quarter, artisans in another. There were streets both wide and narrow, open spaces for gatherings. Many structures for water resource management and flood control are in evidence. Houses were constructed from mudbricks and mud plaster. In major buildings, the masonry was strengthened with bitumen and reeds. For the most part, foundations are all. People were buried in chambers or shafts beneath the house floors. Ur was surrounded by sloping ramparts 8 metres high and about 25 metres wide, bordered in some places by a brick wall. Elsewhere, buildings were integrated into the ramparts; the Euphrates river complemented these fortifications on the city's western side. Archaeological discoveries have shown unequivocally that Ur was a major Sumero-Akkadian urban center on the Mesopotamian plain.
The discovery of the Royal Tombs have confirmed its splendour. These tombs, which date to the Early Dynastic IIIa period, contained immense amounts of luxury items made out of precious metals, semi-precious stones, all of which would have required importation from long distances; this wealth, unparalleled up to is a testimony of Ur's economic importance during the Early Bronze Age. Archaeological research of the region has contributed to our understanding of the landscape and long-distance interactions that took place during these ancient times. Ur was a major port on the Persian Gulf, which extended much further inland than it does today, controlled much of the trade into Mesopotamia. Imports to Ur came from many parts of the world; the imported objects include precious metals such as gold and silver, semi-precious stones, namely lapis lazuli and carnelian. It is thought that Ur had a stratified social system including slaves, artisans, doctors and priests. High-ranking priests enjoyed great luxury and lived in mansions.
Tens of thousands of cuneiform texts, including contracts, business records, court documents, record the city's complex economic and legal systems. These texts have been recovered from temples, the palace, individual houses. Excavation in the old city of Ur in 1929 revealed lyres, instruments similar to the modern harp but in the shape of a bull and with eleven strings; when Ur was founded, the Persian Gulf's water level was two-and-a-half metres higher than it is today. Ur is therefore thought to have had marshy surroundings, used canals only for transportation, not for irrigation. Fish, birds and reeds might have supported Ur economically without the need for an agricultural revolution sometimes hypothesized as a prerequisite to urbanization. Archaeologists have discovered the evidence of an early occupation at Ur during the Ubaid period; these early levels were sealed off with a sterile deposit of soil, interpreted by excavators of the 1920s as evidence for the Great Flood of the Book of Genesis and Epic of Gilgamesh.
It is now understood that the South Mesopotamian plain was exposed to regular floods from the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers, with heavy erosion from water and wind, which may have given rise to the Mesopotamian and derivative Biblical Great Flood stories. The further occupation of Ur only becomes clear during its emergence in the third millennium BC; as other Sumerians, the new settlers of Ur were a non-Semitic people who may have come from the east circa 3300 BCE, spoke a language isolate. But during the 3rd millennium BC, a close cultural symbiosis developed between the Sumerians and the East-Semitic Akkadians, which gave rise to widespread bilingualism; the reciprocal influence of the Sumerian language and the Akkadian language is evident in all areas, from lexical borrowing on a massive scale, to syntactic and phonological convergence. This has prompted scholars to refer to Sumerian and Akkadian in the 3rd millennium BC as a Sprachbund; the third millennium BC is described as the Early Bronze Age of Mesopotamia, which ends after the demise of the Third Dynasty of Ur in the 21st century BC.
There are vario
Sutton Hoo purse-lid
The Sutton Hoo purse-lid is one of the major objects excavated from the Anglo-Saxon royal burial-ground at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, England. The site contains a collection of burial mounds, of which much the most significant is the undisturbed ship burial in Mound 1 containing rich grave goods including the purse-lid; the person buried in Mound 1 is thought to have been Raedwald, King of East Anglia, who died around 624. The purse-lid is considered to be "one of the most remarkable creations of the early medieval period." About seven and a half inches long, it is decorated with beautiful ornament in gold and garnet cloisonné enamel, was undoubtedly a symbol of great wealth and status. In 2017 the purse-lid was on display at the British Museum; the Roman legions withdrew from Britain in about 410 CE, by which time there is evidence that groups of Germanic people were living alongside the native Romano-British population as auxiliary troops. Over the next 150 years, a period from which no records survive, they were evidently added to by immigration, began to create a new social structure and culture that spread to control most of Britain, began to divide it into a number of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.
The purse-lid was the top of a leather pouch for coins. The leather has decayed but forty Frankish coins and two small ingots were found with the lid; each coin was from a different mint. The purse hung from the waist belt by the three hinges seen on top of it; the parts of the lid in other non-jewellery materials had decayed, but it had a plate behind the metalwork made of valuable whalebone "ivory". The lid formed part of an ensemble of richly decorated fittings to the clothing and weapon worn by the body that were made as a set; these consist of a gold belt buckle, gold and garnet shoulder-clasps, sword harness and scabbard mounts. In particular the purse used a combination of small and large pieces of garnet in a way comparable to the shoulder-clasps; the burial "can be seen as a dramatic expression of the aspirations of East Anglian royalty", within which the ensemble of regalia "is a careful construct. The maker derived these images from the ornament of the Swedish-style helmets and shield-mounts in the burial.
In his work they are transferred into the cellwork medium with dazzling technical and artistic virtuosity. On the outside of the lid there are symmetrical images of a man surrounded by two wolves, a version of the ancient Master of Animals motif. In between these images are two more symmetrical figures, this time depicting an eagle swooping down upon its prey. To the ancient Anglo-Saxons, these images held great significance, but to modern historians it is difficult to be sure of the symbolism in these figures, it is possible that the heraldic composition of the men and the wolves alludes to the family name of the Sutton Hoo ship burial – the Wuffingas, or Wolf's People. They could along with the eagle, exhibit power and courage. Above the animal and human figures the artists inlaid abstract designs. Sutton Hoo is a series of 6th-7th century burial mounds found in England; the first and the largest mound excavated in 1939 by Basil Brown, contained a 90-foot-long ship, is the burial site of Raedwald, the leader of the Wuffing dynasty.
It was in this mound. The original excavation records of the mound were destroyed during World War II, only pictures of the rivets in the sand remain as evidence; the excavated materials were sent to London, restoration and documentation of the objects found did not begin until the end of the war. Decades starting in 1965 and ending in about 1971, the mound was excavated again, first by Rupert Bruce-Mitford, by Paul Ashbee. Between the years of 1986 and 1992, the Sutton Hoo Research Committee, under the leadership of Martin Carver, re-excavated Mound 2. At this time, archaeologists excavated Mounds 5, 6, 14, 17, 18. Here, Carter discovered thirty-nine burials; these 8th-11th century burials were execution burials, as the bodies that were spread around Mound 5 were in what was most the ship's gallows. "BM Highlights", British Museum "Highlights" page on the lid "BM Collection database", British Museum "Collection database" page on the lid Adams, Noël. "Reading the Sutton Hoo Purse Lid". Saxon. Bruce-Mitford, Rupert.
The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial, Volume 1: Excavations, the Ship and Inventory. London: British Museum Publications. ISBN 0-7141-1334-4. Bruce-Mitford, Rupert; the Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial, Volume 2: Arms and Regalia. London: British Museum Publications. ISBN 9780714113319. Bruce-Mitford, Rupert; the Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial, Volume 3: Late Roman and Byzantine silver, hanging-bowls, drinking vessels and other containers, the lyre, pottery bottle and other items. I. London: British Museum Publications. ISBN 0-7141-0529-5. Bruce-Mitford, Rupert; the Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial, Volume 3: Late Roman and Byzantine silver, hanging-bowls, drinking vessels, cauldrons and o