Sutton Hoo: Developments for 2016


Sutton Hoo © David Gill

The National Trust has announced various developments for Sutton Hoo:

Sutton Hoo Ship Helps Launch Exciting New Season

A new year will get underway in Anglo-Saxon style next weekend with a visit from the replica Sutton Hoo ship – the Sae Wylfing.

The National Trust site will be welcoming visitors seven days a week from Half Term until the end of October and will be marking the occasion with a special event on the weekend of 13 and 14 February.

Visitors will be able to learn more about the Anglo-Saxon ship burial, before climbing aboard and feeling what it might be like to be a Dark Age King. The Woodbridge Riverside Trust will be on hand to talk about the ship and how it was made.

Throughout the Half Term week, on some days, there will also be visits from King Raedwald himself, displaying and talking about his extraordinary treasures.

A new exhibition also opens on the same weekend called ‘Weaving Words’, celebrating Old English – the lost language of the Saxons, and the remarkable stories that were told around the feasting hall, with readings of poems like Beowulf in the original language.

And Sutton Hoo is also looking to the future by examining its past. Weather permitting, there will be an archaeological team on site on some days, conducting a geophysical survey with ground scanning equipment, and visitors will be encouraged to take part.

‘We are interested in developing a deeper archaeological understanding of this unique site,’ said National Trust Archaeologist Angus Wainwright. ‘And we’re also interested in finding out if our visitors are interested in getting more actively involved in archaeology here – who knows what secrets still lie beneath our feet?’

This year is set to be a particularly exciting one for Sutton Hoo, as it enters the first stage of the Heritage Lottery Fund-supported project to redevelop the whole experience offered to visitors.

With its atmospheric burial mounds, exhibition hall, café and countryside, as well as Mrs Pretty’s house where you can discover the 1930s story of the dig, there will be plenty to do, see and get involved with at Sutton Hoo, not just this Half Term, but throughout the whole year.

Sutton Hoo is open every day from 10.30am to 5.00pm from 13 February until 30 October, and more details can be found at

Rollright Stones: King Stone


Rollright Stones: King Stone, c. 1993 © David Gill

The Rollright Stones lie in Oxfordshire. The King Stone lies outside the main circle.

This image was taken about 1993. Sadly in 2007 the sign was vandalised and had to be removed (details here).

Rome, 1944

The British Army on Leave in Italy, June 1944
The British Army on Leave in Italy, June 1944 © IWM (TR 1960)

I was intrigued by this image of ‘Gunner Smith’ of the (British) Royal Artillery and a colleague taking leave in Rome in June 1944 (shortly after the city’s capture earlier that same month). The  photograph was taken by the official war photographer, Captain Tanner.

Warkworth Castle: Keep off the walls!


Warkworth Castle © Caroline Gill

The family archive yielded a photograph of a student visit to Warkworth Castle in Northumberland. We think that is dated to the spring of 1982 when the castle was in the care of the Department of the Environment.

Ri Cruin Cairn


Ri Cruin Cairn, Kilmartin © David Gill

Ri Cruin Cairn is one of the Early Bronze Age burials in Kilmartin Glen. Although damaged by the construction of a lime kiln, it was the subject of a series of excavations, including one by V. Gordon Childe in 1936. The site is in state guardianship and now is in the care of Historic Scotland.

The photograph, dated to July 1985, shows the Ministry sign located on the edge of the cairn. (This is a scan of the print.) The sign has since been removed.


Getty to return further head to Italy


Terracotta head of Hades found near Morgantina. Source: MiBACT

The J. Paul Getty Museum is to hand over a terracotta head to Italian authorities tomorrow (details on Looting Matters). It will then be put on display in the museum at Aidone, alongside other objects returned from North American collections.

The head’s return raises wider questions about how the Getty acquired material from private collections in the 1980s in spite of the 1970 UNESCO Convention.