Amongst other things, Martin has been an Army officer between 1959 and 1972, a freelance archaeologist between 1972 and 1975, the creator and director of the Birmingham University Field Archaeology Unit between 1975 and 1986, and the director of Sutton Hoo Research Project between 1983 and 2005and professor of archaeology at the University of York between 1986 and 2008. He is currently the chair of the Sutton Hoo Ship’s Company and is delighted to have the opportunity to speak at this festival which will be taking place in the same building where the replica ship is being built.

Martin will be delivering three talks over the weekend.

Saxon Myth & Magic (Friday 9 September at 3.30 pm)

Martin says that riddles, charms, and old wives’ tales are the tiny relics of a much larger world of myth and magic that once enriched the lives of the early Anglo-Saxons. We will plunge into this wild country of the 5th to 8th century, looking at the art and amulets, burials, sculpture, and poems with a special emphasis on what horses and ships meant to them. The aim is to investigate how Saxons signalled their beliefs and what changed when the country converted to Christianity.

FRU2: ‘Saxon Myth & Magic’ with Professor Martin Carver, Friday 9 September 3.30 – 4.30 pm in The Longshed, Woodbridge

What Saxons Wore (Saturday 10 September at 11 am)

A complete replica of the Mound 1 burial chamber was built for the National Trust Visitor Centre at Sutton Hoo – the weapons, the regalia, the gold and garnets: but what do you think was the most expensive to make? The clothes! The king was buried with 42 different kinds of textiles from shirts to cloaks. Clothes determined a person’s identity, clothes and hair. We will explore what warriors wore, what women wore, what Britons wore, what horses wore – and how this ‘personhood’ changed from the arrival of the Saxons to the coming of the Normans.

SAU1: ‘What Saxons wore’ with Professor Martin Carver, 11 – 12 pm in The Longshed, Woodbridge

Saxon Seafarers

In this session, we will explore the waterways of early England, the four seas, the rivers, the lakes, and the streams; inspect the line-up of boats from the smallest to the largest, speculate on their origins, discuss rowing and sailing and navigation by wind, wave and goose. Our big question is how did seafaring and river travel change and why? The siting of ports and towns and allies and the change to Christian ways will all have a part to play. And of course, we will end with the reconstructed Sutton Hoo Ship and what we hope to learn from her.

SUU3: ‘Saxon Seafarers’ with Professor Martin Carver, 2 -3 pm in The Longshed, Woodbridge