Hopes replica of Sutton Hoo ship can be built

8 August 2019, 09:03 | Updated: 8 August 2019, 09:08

Burial ship

History enthusiasts are trying to raise £1 million to build a full-size reconstruction of the 90ft (27m) burial ship found at Sutton Hoo.

The Sutton Hoo Ship's Company launched its crowdfunding campaign, called Make Ship Happen, this week.

It is asking people to sponsor one of more than 3,500 metal rivets, which will hold the vessel together, for £20 each.

Different parts of the ship, including the keel, the planks and the stem and stern, will then be offered up for sponsorship to pay for the rest of the build.

Once the ship is completed, it will be tested at sea with a full crew of up to 40 rowers, the group said.

The original ship was found during a dig at the site near Woodbridge in 1939.

The site was recently given a £4 million revamp by the National Trust.

Sutton Hoo, considered to be one of Britain's most important archaeological discoveries, is thought to be the final resting place of King Raedwald, who ruled in the seventh century.

The Sutton Hoo Ship's Company said the construction of a replica ship is likely to take about two years to complete.

The team, using digital plans produced from measurements taken at the excavation, will initially complete a fifth-size scale model before building the full-size vessel.

Philip Leech, chairman and director of the Sutton Hoo Ship's Company, described the build as a "serious scientific endeavour" and an "example of experimental archaeology which is carried out by replicating or approximating the feasibility of ancient cultures".

He continued: "We cannot wait to watch this magnificent vessel slide down the slipway into the river, before making the maiden voyage.

"The beauty and dignity of this King's ship, tied into a serious scientific programme to learn more about our past, makes for a magnificent and worthwhile spectacle.

"We hope as many people as possible get the chance to be part of making this project a reality."

The ship will be created using wood supplied by the Crown Estates and involve a number of volunteers who have been taught traditional building methods, the group said.

It will be built on the site of the former Whisstocks boatyard in Woodbridge.