Sutton Hoo Who?

Sutton Hoo Helmet

Sutton Hoo is the site of an East Anglian, AD 600 burial. When discovered this burial revealed large quantities of lavish grave goods belonging to a person of high status. But other than the assumption the person is most likely male, and given the large mustache in the design of the helmet, there is little evidence about who this person really was – no DNA.

East Anglian Chief or King?

Based on the grave goods and the size of the ship, could this burial have been for an East Anglian Chief or King and could someone be related to him?

This question came up in the WikiTree G2G Forum today, Sutton Hoo Connections. The poster ran down a quick pedigree…”descent from King Alfred of England. By a little digging round, I found that he descends from AEthelwulf of Wessex, Ecgbert III of Wessex, his mother, an unnamed Anglian princess and daughter of AEthelbert II of Kent, son of Wihtred of Kent, son of Egbert I of Kent, son of Sexburga of East-Anglia (princess), daughter of Anna, King of East Anglia , who was son of Eni of East Anglia, brother of Redwald, King of East Anglia, who was almost certainly the gentleman buried at Sutton Hoo!!!!!!”

I answered honestly albeit a bit tongue in cheek, “I can supposedly go back to Harold. The fella who lost to William and lay the land open for the Normans. I am waiting for John Smeeckle (one of our great WikiTree Researchers) to find the break in my lines and disprove it.

My suggestion? Get male line descendants to do YDNA tests and try to get information on any DNA work/studies being done on the Pre-Norman Royal Chiefs/Kings. Be a real bummer to do all the DNA testing only to find that the burial belonged to a Woman, a Chieftess or Queen (we can ignore the big mustache on the helmet).”

The Female Break

My suggestion to do male line DNA tests is an honest suggestion. There is, however, a slight problem with the pedigree given, “his mother, an unnamed Anglian princess and daughter of AEthelbert II of Kent…” If there is a female in this line of descent no amount of Y-DNA testing will confirm a connection. If this pedigree is correct we can’t do a Y-DNA line directly back to Redwald.

Are there Anglo Saxon Chief/Chieftess DNA studies going on right now?

Yes. According to Dr Stephan Schiffels, from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridgeshire and the Max Plank Institute in Germany, “38% of the ancestors of the English were Anglo-Saxons. This information was derived “By sequencing the DNA from ten skeletons from the late Iron Age and the Anglo-Saxon period, we obtained the first complete ancient genomes from Great Britain…”PhysOrg 

Other information on this:
BBC – English DNA ‘one-third’ Anglo-Saxon

The Charlotte Observer – Sutton Hoo? Home of buried ancient treasure, “

Q. But no DNA?

A. No. That’s a problem at Sutton Hoo.”

There is also a great forum discussion on Eupedia. This discussion breaks out some of the finer points of the DNA (it is a forum, read with a mind to that).

Finding DNA at Sutton Hoo would have been the nail in the …er ship? But no DNA at this time.

Anglo Saxon DNA Study

Of course someone over at FTDNA has an Anglo Saxon DNA Study on the go!

“The project was created to find a common ancestor among  those who have surnames of an Anglo Saxon origin or those who live or have ancestry in the lands once occupied by the Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Frisians andFranks.” and “will accept only those people that have tested with a SNP  associated with Germanic origins.”

Interesting.

I still say grab a few of your Male cousins and jump in to the Gene pool on this one.

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