Sutton Hoo: visualising the burials

Sutton Hoo sculpture © David Gill

Visitors to the cemetery at Sutton Hoo sometimes find it hard to visualise a ship under the mound. The NLHF supported project has allowed a ship sculpture to be inserted in the courtyard next to the cafe and shop. The central part maps out the finds on the ‘burial chamber’.

Burial details in the Sutton Hoo sculpture © David Gill

This contrasts with the reconstructed display in the original exhibition at the site.

Reconstructed ship burial at National Trust Sutton Hoo © David Gill

Zenobia and the trade in cheese

Zenobia figurehead © David Gill

One of the figureheads displayed at the Cutty Sark, Greenwich is from the Zenobia, wrecked off the Norfolk coast in 1882 (further details). The Zenobia was built to carry fruit, but was sold and then based in Great Yarmouth in Norfolk to carry cargoes of cheese to Holland.

The vessel was named after Zenobia of Palmyra (Syria).

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

Ship at Sutton Hoo

Sae Wylfing © David Gill
Sae Wylfing © David Gill

Historia: The Sutton Hoo Festival of History took place at Sutton Hoo (National Trust) last weekend. The star exhibit was the reconstructed Sae Wylfing, a small replica of the ship found in the burial mound at Sutton Hoo.

Further details about the ship can be found on the Woodbridge Waterfront website.

Boat on the Sutton Hoo Ship Burial

Sutton Hoo
© David Gill

The Deben Rowing Club were allowed to carry a boat onto the ship burial at Sutton Hoo this afternoon. I was invited to view the proceedings. The group photograph gives an idea of the size of the mound. The rowing boat was carried up from the Deben and through the wood, led in a procession by the Mayor of Woodbridge.

Sutton hoo
© David Gill

The Mayor of Woodbridge led the procession through the mounds.

Sutton Hoo
© David Gill

‘Three Women in a Boat’ with the Mayor of Woodbridge.

Sutton Hoo
© David Gill

The rowing boat on the Ship Burial with Tranmere House in the background.

Sutton Hoo
© David Gill

The posts mark the prow and stern of the ship burial.

Sutton Hoo
© David Gill

The towing boat leaves the site passing the reconstructed mound.

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