We recently visited Sutton Hoo in Suffolk; it is the burial site of an Anglo Saxon warrior buried within a ship with elaborate grave goods including a golden mask.
The helmet from the Sutton Hoo ship burial
I found the place fantastically atmospheric. The story of how it was discovered really captured my imagination. The owner of the house and land, Mrs Edith Pretty was a spiritualist and the story goes that she looked out of the window one night and saw an Anglo Saxon in full warrior’s dress standing on the largest burial mound. He told her to dig there because she would find treasure. She was interested in archaeology so she decided to follow her instruction and asked a local archaeologist Basil Brown to dig for her.
Mrs Pretty was born on August 1st 1833 in Elland Yorkshire, I don’t know her birth time so I can’t plot the astrological houses, but her chart still reflects her story.
Mrs Pretty’s birth chart
Mrs Pretty had a bundle shaped chart with planets in five consecutive signs for Taurus through to Virgo. This indicates a very focused individual. She was born with Sun and Mercury in Leo and Moon, Jupiter and Venus in Cancer. Her Leo planets suggest that she was generous, creative and brave. Her Cancerian planets indicate a strong intuition and an interest in the past and strong family ties.
She was very close to her family, and she spent many years caring for her parents and did not marry Frank Pretty until 1926, after they had both died. Jupiter in Cancer suggests she is likely to enjoy Cancerian pursuits and archaeology as a study of the past falls into this category. It also suggests an interesting and adventurous home, her parents took her travelling as a child as her father saw the educational value of it. She was a well travelled adult and spent time in Egypt observing the excavations in the Nile Valley.
In finding the treasure Mrs Pretty followed her intuition, this act of faith paid off in a big way, reflecting Jupiter, planet of good luck, expansion and risk taking. Intuition is also linked to Neptune, and her Neptune in Taurus, an earth sign, made positive links to all her Cancerian planets and to Uranus, planet of unexpected surprises and rule breakers in another earth sign Virgo.
Mrs Pretty also had three planets in airy, logical Gemini, including Pluto, god of the underworld. Pluto indicates the desire to unearth secrets, literally in this case. Archaeology is all about finding long buried artifacts which provide vital clues to how people lived, the information then needs to be pieced together, a task requiring meticulous and detailed work. Edith did not undertake this task herself but she had enough knowledge to find a suitable person. In 1939 it was decided that the treasure belonged to Mrs Pretty and she was incredibly generous (a Leo trait) and gave it to the National Museum where it still resides.
Sutton Hoo tour guide
Mary Hopkirk Biography of Edith May Pretty