"I have never welcomed the weakening of family ties by politics or pressure" - Nelson Mandela.
"He who travels for love finds a thousand miles no longer than one" - Japanese proverb.
"Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence." - Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
"When people's love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change". -
David Cameron.

Sunday 24 February 2013

Error in 'Life in UK' book??

The image below is from page 18 of the new 'Life in the UK' book :

 The caption reads 'An Anglo-Saxon helmet found at Sutton Hoo - currently at the British Museum'.

The text begins: 'The Anglo-Saxons were not Christians when they first came to Britain but, during this period, missionaries came to Britain to preach about Christianity...'

Au contraire. The famous Sutton Hoo helmet is this :

(Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sutton_hoo_helmet_room_1_no_flashbrightness_ajusted.JPG - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sutton_Hoo ).

It's not the same helmet as the one in the 'Life in the UK' book - and in all my googling, I haven't come across a helmet found at Sutton Hoo which looks like the helmet in the 'Life in the UK' book.

For starters, the Sutton Hoo helmet has a full face mask; the 'Life in the UK' book's helmet doesn't.

I believe that the helmet in the 'Life in the UK' image is actually a Vendel helmet - maybe even this helmet :
(Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Helmet_from_a_7th_century_boat_grave,_Vendel_era.jpg )

In fact, the image of the Vendel helmet above is linked to from the Wikipedia page on Sutton Hoo ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sutton_Hoo ) with the caption 'Helmet from the 7th century ship burial at Vendel'.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vendel is a location in Sweden which is also the site of ship burials and the graves of medieval kings who shared a similar culture to the early English - but it's not Sutton Hoo, and while the famous Sutton Hoo helmet does bear some resemblance to the Vendel helmet, they aren't the same object.

Surely the authors of the 'Life in the UK' book haven't just copied and pasted an image from Wikipedia (or somewhere) without understanding the underlying context or history? Because that would be wrong.

If of course the helmet in the 'Life in the UK' book does come from Sutton Hoo (another helmet??) - I'd like to see evidence of this, and am willing to be corrected. But on the face of it it's not the same object. 


"The new book rightly focuses on values and principles at the heart of being British," Harper said. "Instead of telling people how to claim benefits it encourages participation in British life."

Among these British values are 1/ fair play 2/ accuracy and integrity and 3/ a sense of history.

If indeed the authors of the book have posted the wrong image (the Vendel helmet, while lovely and demonstrating a high level of craftsmanship, isn't the same as the Sutton Hoo helmet), then that's just not cricket.

The Sutton Hoo helmet is remarkable for its sheer attention to detail. From http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/pe_mla/h/helmet_from_sutton_hoo.aspx :
The helmet has panels decorated with interlacing Style II animal ornament and heroic scenes, motifs that were common in the Germanic world at this time. One scene shows two warriors, wearing horned helmets, holding short swords and down-turned spears. The other shows a mounted warrior trampling a fallen enemy, who in turn is stabbing the horse, a theme handed down from the Roman Empire.

Yes. Attention to detail. More attention to detail please!

Sutton Hoo is a special part of English history - sacred even. It's just not on to get something so core to the English identity, wrong.

I should also add that the apparent error wasn't spotted by me. It was spotted by someone I know who is
1/ Currently studying for the 'Life in the UK' test
2/ From a radically different culture (Japan) and...
3/ Whose native language isn't English.

Fair play.


Related post : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/hidden-lives-life-in-uk-comedy-gold.html

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