Sutton Hoo and the Buddha’s of Baniyan

What is the Difference Between Archaeology and History?

Basically the difference is history looks at the written records left by other people in the past and archaeology looks at the material remains that people of the past have left behind. Historians read about the past and archaeologists dig it up!

However, you cannot always believe what you read in the history that has been recorded. In the past it was the wealthy and those in power who had the time and means to record their history in books and on parchment, because not everyone could read and write.

When these people had their history written down they made themselves look like heroes, the actions that they took seem the right thing to do, and to make other people and places look bad, or not as good as they were.


Archaeology WOW!! – The Sutton Hoo Burial.

The Sutton Hoo burial is that of an Anglo-Saxon lord or king who died in the 6th or 7th century. It was discovered in 1939 by the landowner Mrs Pretty and excavated that year by Basil Brown, a local archaeologist.


©Steven J. Plunkett

When Mr Brown realized how important the find was the British Museum became involved. World War Two broke out and the finds were put in a safe place. After the War another archaeologist, Rupert Bruce-Mitford took over the excavations and he wrote three volumes about the excavations.

The finds included the Sutton Hoo helmet, bowls, spoons bearing the names of the Apostles, spears, swords, sword harness and mount, gold buckles, shoulder clasps from clothing, an ornate purse lid which was all that was left of a purse containing money, drinking cups and horns, a coat of ring-mail, leather shoes, a cushion, a wooden platter, a hammer axe, silver dish, cups, combs, knives, gaming pieces, a ladle, shield fittings, the remains of cloaks, hangings and blankets. The finds are now housed at the British Museum.

                    Image                                Image                                    Shoulder Clasp                                                             Belt Buckle

                           ©                                         ©



The Sutton Hoo Helmet


For more information visit the Sutton Hoo Society webpage at


Archaeology Guide – The Buddha’s of Bamiyan

Bamwan Valley, Hazarajat, Afghanistan, 80 miles from Kabul.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

The site held two Buddha statues standing 53 and 35 meters high. The statue that stood 53 meters was the tallest statue in the world 1. They are carved directly into sandstone cliffs. The site stood on the Silk Road, an important prehistoric trade route 2.


The Two Buddha’s in 1832


Bamiyan was an important religious retreat and community, with around 10,000 monks 2. The site was later looked after by the descendants of Genghis Khan, the Hazara people 3.

Originally the statues were brightly coloured. The tallest one, called Jun-bukt, was painted gold and red with the smaller one, called Zun-bukt, was painted white 2.

UNESCO World Heritage Site register describe the site as

The Buddha statues and the cave art in Bamiyan Valley are an outstanding representation of the Gandharan  School in Buddhist art in the Central Asian region. 4.

Sadly, in 2001, the Taliban demolished the statues with anti-aircraft weapons and tanks 2 in a move to control the ‘global identity of Afghanistan’ 5. Even though they are no longer there, other archaeological sites within the valley are still protected by UNESCO and there is a plan to possibly rebuild the statues.


The tallest Buddha statue, Jun-bukt before (1963) and after (2008) destruction.

©UNESCO/A Lezine


1 – Higham. C. 2009. Encyclopaedia of Ancient Asian Civilizations. New York: Infobase Publishing.

2 – Elverskog. J. 2011. Buddhism and Islam on the Silk Road. Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania.

3 – Docherty. P. 2007. The Khyber Pass: A History of Empire and Invasion. New York: Union Square Press.

4 – Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley. UNESCO World Heritage.

5 – Silverman. H., & Fairchild Ruggles. D. 2007. Cultural Heritage and Human Rights. New York: Springer.


Great Books to Read…….

Treasures from Sutton Hoo by Gareth Williams

Sutton Hoo (Suffolk)  by The National Trust

Underworld: Exploring the Secret World Under Your Feet by Jane Price


Great Web Pages to Look At…….

Sutton Hoo – BBC

Sutton Hoo – The British Museum

Sutton Hoo – Early British Kingdoms





Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: