Having studied the Sutton Hoo burial, I have come to a conclusion that King Raedwald was the person who had been given a memorial. Here is my evidence to prove it.
I think the man was a King because of all the royal items in his grave. A few examples of the high status items are the sword with jewelled gold pommel and the shield decorated with a dragon and jewels. A big piece of evidence, to prove that he was high in status, is the goose-feathered pillow. An ordinary person would not need such a comfortable, expensive item to rest his head on so this strongly suggests that he was a King or a person of high status. As I wrote earlier that I thought it was King Raedwald this is partly why I think that.
King Raedwald was the high King over all the Anglo-Saxon Kings. Later in his life he became a Christian but then he became a Pagan again. He also had an altar to Christ but also an altar to the Devil. This means that religion plays a strong part of his life. People are not too sure whether he was mostly Pagan or mostly Christian. I have been studying this topic and here is what I think.
I think that he was mostly Christian. Even though he had a mound to mark where he was buried, which is a Pagan tradition, he had some very religious items in his grave. For instance, he had a set of ten silver bowls with a cross design on each of them and he had a bronze bowl from Christian Egypt. A big piece of evidence is the pair of Saulos (Saul) and Paulos (Paul) spoons. This means that the man in the burial converted to Christianity sometime during his life.
One big problem in trying to interpret his religion is that we don’t know if the items were plunder. If so, none of our assumptions would be correct.
A very important topic in this essay is whether the deceased belonged to a civilised or barbaric society. I think that he was civilised. There are pieces of evidence against what I think such as the weapons and armour but that could just be for valid reasons. If it was for pure blood lust that could suggest that he was part of a barbaric society. There are pieces of evidence in my favour such as the musical instruments. These could mean that he had appreciation of melody and music, therefore, he was refined and had knowledge. Also, the finely crafted jewels could suggest that his society had the skills and knowledge to make the items. If he was a barbarian, he would only want functional objects, therefore no need for jewels on the pommel of a sword.
Another piece of evidence is the goose-feathered pillow. Barbarians might sleep on the floor because they have no idea of civilised behaviour. A goose-feathered pillow is a luxury item so maybe luxury goods only belong to high ranking people. One last piece of evidence is the coins that were found in the grave. These coins are good evidence because we can decide whether he was civilised or barbaric. If the coins were stolen, he would be considered a barbarian. If they were used in society, it might mean that their society was beyond simple bartering and aggressive theft. It might mean that some kind of organised economic system may have existed. If so, he would be considered civilised.
Finally concluding, we don’t know who was in the burial so you mostly have to guess using the evidence that has been given. I think that he was a religious, civilised man called King Raedwald.