Looking at Sutton Hoo anew

By | Category: Travel destinations

One of the most UK archaeological important finds of the twentieth century was at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk. The helmet which may or may not be linked to the Anglo-Saxon king, Rædwald, is one of the most well-known icons of the Anglo-Saxon age. The discoveries made at Sutton Hoo form a significant holding at the British Museum and the museum at Ipswich.

the famed Sutton Hoo helmet. Image c. NT

For many years Sutton Hoo has been managed by the National Trust but, they had to close the visitor centre for updating and renovation.

That has now been completed and the visitor centre has re-opened.

It is the largest ever investment in the Anglo-Saxon heritage site, which has been run by the trust since 1998. The year-long project included a grant of £1.8m (towards the £4 million cost) from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The ship burial at Sutton Hoo dates back to the seventh century AD

First excavated in 1939 on the eve of WWII, the site comprises the seventh century royal ship burial of a Anglo-Saxon king, which –as I mentioned – is probably that of Rædwald. Excavations in the 1960’s and 1970’s found even more startling relics, many of which can be seen in the British Museum in room 41.

On the site another building has been opened to the public. This is Tranmer House, a 1930s former residential property on the site, which was the home of Edith Pretty.

part of the old Sutton Hoo display

This almost completely unknown lady owned the site and commissioned the original excavation. Without her concern for what was there and money which funded the early excavations we would have missed an enormous clue to how our ancestors lived.

Tranmer House now houses in-depth displays about the archaeological dig and ongoing research. There is also a new walking route out to the burial mounds, and re-interpretation of the displays around Anglo-Saxon culture. In addition, during the autumn a viewing tower will be built next to the burial mounds so that visitors can get a better understanding of the site from above

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