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Whilst it is not essential to do any background reading before the course begins, you may find it useful to do so. The reading list below contains books that you can read. You don’t have to read all of these and we don’t specify any that you must read. Instead, these are readings you can use to gain a preliminary understanding of topics, as well as to study in more depth those parts of the course you are particularly interested in. You may also want to take a look at magazines such as British Archaeology, World Archaeology and Current Archaeology.

Further suggestions about ways you can extend your understanding of topics through books, television etc may also be posted as appropriate here on the tutor’s personal blog, as well as on the WEA East Midlands Region History Space.


Beowulf. (Available from Penguin Classics, Oxford World Classics etc)

Bede. Ecclesiastical History of the English People. (Available from Penguin Classics, Oxford World Classics etc)

Crossley-Holland, K. 2009. The Anglo-Saxon World: An Anthology. Oxford World Classics.


Alexander, C. 2011. Lost Gold of the Dark Ages: War, Treasure, and the Mystery of the Saxons. National Geographic.

Blair, J. 2000. The Anglo-Saxon Age: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford Books.

Carver, M. 2000. Sutton Hoo: Burial Ground of Kings? British Museum Press.

Fleming, R. 2011. Britain After Rome: The Fall and Rise, 400 to 1070. Penguin Books.

Higham, N and Ryan, M. 2013. The Anglo-Saxon World. Yale University Press.

Hindley, G. 2006. A Brief History of the Anglo-Saxons. Robinson Press.

Leahy, K and Bland, R. 2009. The Staffordshire Hoard. British Museum Press.

Preston, J. 2008. The Dig. Penguin Books (Novel recreating the Sutton Hoo dig).

Williams, G. 2011. Treasures from Sutton Hoo. British Museum Press.