[MR] History Blog: Anglo-Saxon Graves with Sand Silhoutte Bodies

Garth Groff and Sally Sanford mallardlodge1000 at gmail.com
Tue Sep 22 03:19:21 PDT 2020

Noble Friends,

Yesterday the History Blog discussed the discovery of an Anglo-Saxon
cemetery in East Suffolk. The cemetery contained 208 burials, and included
some grave goods, including weapons, but also one burial with a cruciform
bronze brooch. In a bizarre twist, there were no skeletons left. The highly
acidic sandy soil had dissolved all the organic material leaving only a
"sand body", different colored sand in a human shape:
http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/59610 .

This is remarkably similar to the Sutton Hoo burials. The major find there
was the famous ship burial. All the wooden timbers had dissolved in the
high-acid soil, but a perfect outline most of the ship was preserved in the
sand. Unfortunately, the occupant of the grave had completely melted away.
However, more recent excavations revealed 39 bodies presumed to be executed
criminals (or perhaps rivals of a chief) which were preserved as "sand
bodies". This was the central theme of a recent episode of the Smithsonian
Channel television program MYSTIC BRITAIN, "Sand Bodies of Sutton Hoo",
which will be rebroadcast on at 4:00 p.m. on 28 September.

For more on the Sutton Hoo "sand bodies" see the "Execution Burials"
section at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sutton_Hoo . One photo of a "sand
body" is included.

And don't forget to set your DVD recorder to the Smithsonian Channel for
the rerun of the TV program.

Yours Aye,

Lord Mungo Napier, Laird of Mallard Lodge  🦆

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