New Excavations at Sutton Hoo

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Sutton Hoo excavations, June 2018 © David Gill

Some investigatory excavations were taking place at National Trust Sutton Hoo this last week in preparation for the construction of a viewing tower adjacent to the mound where the ship burial was excavation. This HLF funded project will enhance the public experience of what is one of the most important archaeological sites in Suffolk.

Archaeologists from MOLA have been investigating a Bronze Age ditch feature (with some contextualised pottery).

In 2015 a temporary scaffolding tower was erected to see how it changed the way that the public viewed the mounds.

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Sutton Hoo excavations, June 2018 © David Gill

Mottistone: tea and scone

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There are some heritage tea-rooms that deserve a special mention, and this includes NT Mottistone on the Isle of Wight. First, there was a warm welcome that makes a big difference. Second, tea was served in a proper teapot and cups and saucers were provided. Third, the scone was well above the normal standard for NT fare. Fourth (and outside the control of the NT), the sun shone.

Tea with the National Trust has become a rather mixed affair with a move away from quality tea blenders, and with a very bland, and often disappointing, range of cakes on offer. At least there is a corner of an island that takes pride in what it has to offer.

Visitors to Framlingham Castle

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Framlingham Castle, Towers 7-11 (from right to left) © David Gill

Framlingham Castle has seen a dramatic increase in the number of visitors during the last year. The latest figures show that 106,149 visitors explored the castle in 2017, an increase of 35.9%. It has been suggested that this was due to Ed Sheeran’s allusion through his ‘Castle on the Hill’.

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Framlingham Castle © David Gill

However note that Ickworth, also in Suffolk, has seen an increase of more than 18,000 visitors (compare Framlingham with more than 28,000 visitors). Are we seeing an increase in visitors to Suffolk or has the music drawn in additional footfall?

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© David Gill

Mottistone: Neolithic long barrow

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Mottistone © David Gill

The long stone on the down above Mottistone originally formed part of the entrance to a Neolithic long barrow [National Trust].  The mound was excavated by Jacquetta Hawkes in 1956 (and published in Antiquity).

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Mottistone © David Gill

 

 

Mottistone: signs of privacy

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Mottistone © David Gill

I noticed a sign on the garden gate at National Trust Mottistone: it appears to be a standard Ministry of Works sign. It needs to be remembered that the Royal Label Factory produced signs for both the Ministry and the National Trust.

For other Ministry ‘private’ signs:

Hidden defences at St Helen’s Duver

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St Helen’s Duver © David Gill

The 13th century tower of old St Helen’s church stands above the beach at St Helen’s Duver on the Isle of Wight [National Trust]. It formed part of the Benedictine Priory, that was abandoned in the early 15th century. In the 18th century the tower was bricked up and served as a landmark.

Adjacent to the tower is a World War II pillbox intended to defend the entrance to Bembridge harbour [HER] [Citizan]. This was carefully disguised to look like part of the ruins.

 

Releasing the Story of Sutton Hoo

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Sutton Hoo © David Gill

The National Trust has been awarded £1.8 million by the Heritage Lottery Fund to enhance the visitor experience at Sutton Hoo. One of the projects will be to create a 17 m high viewing tower to give some visitors views of the burial ground. Tranmer House, overlooking the cemetery, will be the home for a new interpretative exhibition.