Many of these finds originate from a chain of community burial sites along the river Avon in the south Midlands (Warwickshire & Worcestershire). Situated between the territory of what would later emerge as the kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex, the people buried here in the 5-6th century belonged to neither, yet are enmeshed in the origins of both. This community was also sandwiched between conclusively 'Anglian' territory and the Welsh Kingdoms, so might better be termed 'Anglo-British' than 'Anglo-Saxon', with clear signs of local Romano-British continuity intermingling with migration and change. Living in a 'transport triangle' criss-crossed by Roman-roads and navigable rivers, this community arguably provides the perfect case-study for engaging with the complexity of ethnogenesis / identity formation, and transformation, from late antiquity into the early medieval period in lowland Britain.
In recent years we have undertaken a long-running project to re-create some of these treasures, to raise awareness of these amazing finds hitherto not on public display, and in particular, to reconstruct the image of a series of individuals from this 6th century community, based on the archaeology of specific burials, providing an opportunity to come 'face-to-face' with the folk who lived in the heart of what is now England, at the crossroads of kingdoms, 1500 years ago.
These reconstructions were unveiled at a series of public events at Sutton Hoo (National Trust) in summer 2023.