Drawings of Anglo-Saxons

ANGLO-SAXON DISCOVERY

Drawings of objects

Cemeteries

Cemetery drawn by Rebecca age 9 3/4
Rebecca age 9 3/4

The Anglo-Saxons buried their dead in cemteries, just like we do today.

Pagan Cemeteries

From the cemeteries that archaeologists have found, we know that pagan Anglo-Saxons sometimes used the same cemetery for nearly 200 years.

They did not use grave stones but appear to have marked burials with mounds of earth or wooden posts.

Cemeteries varied in size. Archaeologists have found Anglo-Saxon cemeteries with fewer than 10 burials and others with more than 200 burials. The smaller cemeteries were probably used by one family for a short period of time, whereas the larger cemeteries appear to have been used by a larger community - like a village - over a long period of time.

The Anglo-Saxons buried their dead in two ways:

1. Sometimes the whole body was buried - known as an inhumation burial.

Drawing of woman buried in the ground
Drawing by Daniel

2. Some people were cremated - the body was burnt - and the remains were buried in an urn.
Cremation burial in the ground

Pagan Anglo-Saxons buried dead people with their personal possessions.

These two types of burial can be found in the same cemetery but some groups of Anglo-Saxons appear to have prefered cremation over inhumation burials.

Ixworth cross (AN1909.453)

Christian Cemeteries

From the seventh century onwards more and more Anglo-Saxons became Christians. They still used cemeteries but usually different ones from the pagan Anglo-Saxons. They buried their dead without any personal possessions. This is how archaeologists can tell the difference between the different types of cemetery.

Some early Christian kings appear to have been buried with their personal possessions (like at Sutton Hoo).