The WITAN (OE ‘wise ones’) was the name given to an assembly of councillors advising Anglo-Saxon kings. Its meetings seem to have been convened when required and had a fluid composition, depending on what was happening and what was needed at that time.

Our WITAN meets twice a year and has recruited experts from every relevant field. It has no executive powers, and when it has the advice to offer gives it to our Trustees and staff rather than a king. So, less like a cabinet and more like an assembly of skilled and independent colleagues from a wide catchment.

The reconstruction and trials of the Sutton Hoo Ship are intended to generate new knowledge about early England, its craftsmen, warriors, leaders, and seafarers. We aim to do this by creating a vivid tangible three-dimensional ship of solid oak and iron and studying its performance, handling, strengths and limitations on rivers, estuaries, and seas. Accordingly, the Ship’s Company must be fully aware of the technologies of ancient shipbuilding and the latest thinking about Anglo-Saxon England and its neighbours across three seas. In addition, we must understand the way our ship is perceived in the present day to inspire followers from primary school to retirement.

To this end, our WITAN gathers professors of early art, languages, literature, histories and archaeology, maritime experts, boat builders, rowers, sailors, farmers and communicators, to meet informally to share their experiences, opinions, imagination, apprehensions and ambitions. By helping to develop new ideas, these colleagues enrich the ship project and raise its international profile.

If you feel that you are able to contribute to our Witan please email for more information.