The archaeological work on the ship was done in 1939, and by the British Museum in 1965-1970.

The 1939 survey of the ship was done by a team from the Science Museum led by J K D Hutchison, a reserve officer in the Royal Navy. The Second World War interfered with the follow up. The records at the Science Museum were destroyed in a bombing raid. After Commander Hutchison died from natural causes in 1944, his widow burnt his all papers.

The later work by the British Museum was comprehensively recorded in The Sutton Hoo Ship Burial, Volume I, edited by Rupert Bruce-Mitford. Even so, when the Graveney ship was discovered in September 1970, he was hampered by the secondment of two key members of his staff to the National Maritime Museum.

When considering a particular feature of the ship it is useful to know exactly where to turn to for the information in the original sources. It may not always be in the obvious places.

The following papers, which may be updated occasionally, have been written as a guide to the record of the 1939 and 1965-70 work. (The first nine started off as preparation for the international symposium held in October 2018.)

Please be aware they contain some material that is copyright, this has been indicated where it occurs.

SHSC001 Hood Ends V1.2

SHSC002 Plank Lengths V1.2

SHSC003 Keel Size and Shape V1.4

SHSC004 Plank Scarf Joints V1.1

SHSC005 Gunwales V1.2

SHSC006 Stem & Stern V1.2

SHSC007 Steering Arrangements V1.1

SHSC008 Fastenings V1.2

SHSC009 Ribs V1.1

SHSC0010 Plank Thicknesses V1.1

SHSC0011 Tholes V1.1

SHSC0012 Caulking V1.0

SHSC0015 Anglo Saxon Iron Working V1.0

SHSC021 Nautical Archaeologists and Naval Architects V1.0

SHSC023 Saxon Ships V1.0

SHSC024 Early Medieval Anchors V1.0

SHSC029 Fastening and Caulking V2.0

SHSC034 Anglo-Saxon Felling & Chopping Axes V1.0

SHSC035 Anglo Saxon Navigational Practices V1.0

SHSC036 Ship Naming V1.0

Source documents frequently referenced from these papers are:

BRUCE-MITFORD, R., 1975. The Sutton Hoo Ship Burial, Volume I. London. British Museum
CROSLEY, A.S., 1942. Survey of the 6th Century Saxon Burial Ship, Transactions of the Newcomen Society, 23(1), 109-116
EVANS A. C., 1975. The Ship. In: BRUCE-MITFORD R. (ed.), 1975. The Sutton Hoo Ship Burial, Volume I. London. British Museum, 353-413
PHILLIPS, C. W., 1940a. The Excavation of the Sutton Hoo Ship-burial, Antiquaries Journal, XX (2), 149-202
PHILLIPS, C. W., 1940b. The Sutton Hoo Burial Ship, The Mariner’s Mirror, 26 (4), 345-355
PHILLIPS, C. W., 1940c. The Excavation of the Sutton Hoo Ship-burial, Antiquity, XIV, 6-27
SCIENCE MUSEUM, 1939. Drawing No 2012/B, Provisional Drawing, 2 Sheets, Sheet 2. Colchester and Ipswich Museum.

The Digital Reconstruction of the Sutton Hoo ship – IJNA Paper

An article about the digital reconstruction of the Sutton Hoo ship has been published in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology: Tanner, P., Whitewright, J. and Startin, J., 2020. The Digital Reconstruction of the Sutton Hoo ship. International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 49(1): 5-28. Link

Abstract: This article describes the digital reconstruction of the ship remains from Mound 1, at the early 7th-century Anglo-Saxon burial ground at Sutton Hoo, East Anglia, UK. This research provides a critical component of the wider project to build a full-scale reconstruction of the Sutton Hoo ship. The nature of the archaeological record relating to the Sutton Hoo ship is outlined, and the subsequent assumptions underpinning the digital reconstruction explained, followed by a step-by-step account of that work. Hydrostatic testing of the resulting digitally reconstructed hull is then presented, allowing new insight into the capacity and capability of the vessel.

If you are interested in this paper, you may ask one of the authors, Joe Startin, for a personal copy, using the email address Copies provided are for private study only, and are not to be used for commercial purposes, or for any sort of systematic reproduction. 


Reconstructing clinkered hull ships across the world

The archaeology and reconstruction of ancient clinkered hull ships is well-practiced elsewhere. For a taste of how it has and is being done for Viking ships, built about three or four hundred years after ours, you might like to have a read of this document written by Victoria Fleming – Sea Stallion and other Viking reconstructions at Roskilde – A review