On Sunday 18 April the volunteer crew took transported the pieces of keel blank that have been fashioned out of the tress from Forestry England ready to start work on Monday. It was ‘all hands to the pump’ to manoeuvre the enormous pieces of timber onto the waiting trestles where they will be worked into … Continue reading #Day1 of the Sutton Hoo Ship
As we continue the behind-the-scenes planning to return to working in the Longshed we have, at last, been able to commence preparatory work on the timbers for the backbone of the ship. Some time ago we took the decision to saw blanks for the keel and posts (from the logs that were delivered in January). … Continue reading Tim Kirk’s Shipwright’s report for March
The film “The Dig” understandably focuses on the team Charles Phillips put together to handle the burial chamber and its contents. It omits the team he organised to survey the ship. Phillips first met Mrs Pretty, at Sutton Hoo, on 6 June 1939. He made phone calls on her behalf to the British Museum and to … Continue reading The Other Team on “The Dig” – Joe Startin
It is important for SHSC to have a scientific record of the components of the ship, as part of our experimental archaeology programme. As things progress, we need to be able to look back at the materials we used and what we did. Photogrammetry is the science of creating a three dimensional model from a … Continue reading An Experience of Photogrammetry by Andy Spencer
This is the fourth in Joe’s series of speculative posts – click here for links to parts 1, 2 and 3 Edwin Gifford built a half-length replica of the Sutton Hoo ship in 1993 – Sæ Wylfing (moored outside the Longshed in the photo above). He was fed up with people saying that the shape … Continue reading Joe Startin Speculates, ‘Did the Sutton Hoo Ship Sail?’ (Part 4)
This month progress on the build has been very limited because of lockdown restrictions. This report is about essential work that we are doing to source wood for the hull, frame and oars that will make the ship a strong, seaworthy vessel. Readers of previous posts will know that we already have already obtained a … Continue reading Tim Kirk’s Shipwright’s Report for February
Whilst on maternity leave, NAS Education Manager Peta Knott, from the Nautical Archaeology Society, is taking a break from work and enjoying the many archaeological lectures, workshops and most recently – movies – that are currently available online. Here she reviews ‘The Dig’ The Society are keen followers of our project and we thank them … Continue reading The Nautical Archaeology Society review #thedig and gives us a mention
The Dig, released on 29 January, is a new film by Netflix exploring the story of the excavation of the Great Ship Burial at Sutton Hoo in 1939. The film is based on a novel, also titled The Dig, written by John Preston. Many of the events and characters depicted in both the film and … Continue reading The true story behind The Dig by the National Trust
In this article written by Erin Blakemore for the National Geographic, the author explores whether or not the Sutton Hoo Ship was the last of its kind… ‘Archaeologists can be a careful bunch. They hedge their bets, question the data at every turn, and tend to spurn any hint of sensationalism. But bring up the … Continue reading Why this famed Anglo-Saxon ship burial was likely the last of its kind
The BBC has put together an interesting culture article called The buried ship found on an English estate that pieces together the archeological dig, the burial site, and the new Netflix film, The Dig. Towards the end of the article they write ‘And what exactly was the nature of the vessel? Was it a warship … Continue reading BBC Culture feature ‘The Dig’
It’s here. We have a the keel log we have been waiting for! What a story of suspense, from first identifying the tree in a Forestry England site in Wiltshire nearly a year ago, through delays in felling, postponements because of Covid, a carrier who failed to bring back the goods, to finally manoeuvring the … Continue reading Arrival of our keel log!
In the Ship’s Company we often calmly say that “our project to re-create the Sutton Hoo Mound One Ship is the biggest experimental archaeology project in the UK/Europe/the northern hemisphere/the world” just depending on how modest we are feeling. But what are we talking about when we say that? Many of you will know that as well … Continue reading What on earth is experimental archaeology?
Unfortunately, lockdown has again slowed our progress. However with the arrival of two logs for the backbone we are in a good position finally to begin the build of the Ship as restrictions ease. We have lofted (drawn full scale) the stem and stern posts which will enable new patterns to be taken for the … Continue reading Shipwright’s report – January 2021 – Tim Kirk
We are building a full size version of the ship dug up by Basil Brown, Mrs Edith Pretty and Charles Phillips during the excavation celebrated in John Preston’s book and now in the Netflix film THE DIG. THE DIG took place just across the river Deben from where our ship is taking shape. From our long shed we can see … Continue reading Hail to THE DIG from the Ship’s Company
Our partnership with the SHSC continues to provide us with a steady stream of interesting and exciting work – and great opportunities for other helpful partnerships. Our efforts in the laboratory examining rivets (courtesy of the National Trust and Sutton Hoo Society) from the 1939 dig have yielded some extraordinary results. I won’t pre-empt my … Continue reading News from the Director of the Institute for Digital Archaeology – Roger Michel
Opinions about whether or not the Sutton Hoo ship sailed differ between sailors and non-sailors. It is difficult for the sailors, whatever their views, to avoid patronising the non-sailors. Only practised sailors, they will suggest, can understand such things as: the forces on the mast, the stays, the shrouds and the rudder; the significance of … Continue reading Joe Startin speculates – Did she sail? Part 3
THE DIG starring Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes is being released at the end of this month on Netflix. The film, inspired by the book written by John Preston, captures the period of the Sutton Hoo Ship discovery. Once you have seen the film you can begin to imagine what our replica ship will look … Continue reading The Dig
Did the Sutton Hoo ship ever sport a hefty mast and a big sail? It would help if we knew what the ship was used for. An expert view is that it could have been a sort of royal barge, a means for the king to project his power and majesty throughout much of his … Continue reading Joe Startin speculates – did the Sutton Hoo Ship ever sail – part 2
Google “maul” and you will get a variety of definitions, like being clawed by a lion or clashing on the rugby field. The Merriam-Webster dictionary is the first one I looked at that defined a maul in the sense we are using it – a heavy often wooden headed hammer – which is what we … Continue reading Damian Goodburn’s Holly Maul
As the year comes to a close we are back in the Longshed and continuing to make progress, with restricted numbers of volunteers. Whilst we wait for delivery of the keel logs we have lofted the design stations of the hull to full-size (that means drawn out full scale plans) and begun making molds to … Continue reading Shipwright’s report – December 2020
We were very lucky to have been remembered by Jules Hudson, from Escape to the Country, as he was filming a potential house move in this area and wanted to record some local places of interest. Where better than an historic project in the making, in the centre of Woodbridge. During the day Jules captured … Continue reading Escape to the…Longshed
12 foot midships model Since we returned to operations in the Longshed at the beginning of August we have continued training and preparation to begin the actual build of the ship. Covid has restricted numbers working but we have been able to plank the lower half of the midships model on the port side, using … Continue reading Shipwright’s report – Tim Kirk
Did the Sutton Hoo Ship buried in Mound 1 use a sail? The conventional wisdom is reflected on the British Museum website. “….it is just not possible to tell if the ship had a mast and was sailed in the open sea, or if it just had oars for rowing along the coast and rivers.” … Continue reading Joe Startin speculates – did the Sutton Hoo ship sail?
Building this great ship starts with construction of the keel. What did we need to look for when identifying suitable trees? The key point is that finding a straight, and nearly flawless, oak for the thin plank keel is a huge challenge in England today as we have no wildwood. Damian Goodburn advised that “Even … Continue reading Reflections on creating the keel for our ship
We often get asked why we are using green oak to build the Ship and why we are (where practicable) using ancient techniques. Here, Dr Damian Goodburn who knows much, much more about medieval oak than most people, provides us with many reasons why we should do so. The photo above shows Damian using a … Continue reading Why are we using green oak to build the Ship?
The first open day of 2020 saw a steady stream of very interested visitors. Luckily the weather was in our favour for once and the bright sunny afternoon encouraged people to break from their river walk to come and see what all the noise was. The Crew Members demonstrated how to split willow into blanks … Continue reading Anglo Saxon Ship Open Day
Today a group of Ship’s Co. Volunteer Crew Members travelled over to Sicklesmere near Bury St Edmunds to collect four Ash trees. These four trees are the last available Ash from the Bradfield Woods as the remaining Ash trees have sadly succumbed to Ash dieback. The Ash trees are lovely and straight making them perfect … Continue reading The Sutton Hoo Ship get donation from the Suffolk Wildlife Trust
There have been a few questions about why we are called The Sutton Hoo Ship’s Company, as we are not a commercial enterprise. There are of course many meanings of the word company… you can enjoy someone’s company, you can be part of a company have a company policy, you can awkwardly not realise someone … Continue reading The Anglo-Saxon ship is keeping good company
We are delighted to have formed a partnership with the Institute for Digital Archaeology, based in Oxford. The Institute is headed up by Roger Michel who has a particular interest in Anglo-Saxon studies. As well as financial support (for which we are very grateful), the Institute has huge expertise in digital imaging and visualising ancient artefacts and are helping with … Continue reading The Sutton Hoo Ships partners up
In the run up to Christmas we had a fantastic response to our sponsor a fixing scheme. Sponsoring a rivet has been a very popular gift for grandchildren, Mum’s and Dad’s, Brothers and Sister’s, Uncles and Aunt’s and in one case for a ‘Secret Santa’ gift – much better than socks or a selection pack! … Continue reading Sutton Hoo Ship Rivet
The Ship’s Company Directors woke up on Monday to find our website kept crashing, but why? It turned out that the Times newspaper ran a page 3 spread about our reconstruction project which was copied by the Mail on-line – the interest it has all provoked has been incredible. We are very pleased to raise … Continue reading Anglo-Saxon secret hits the media
Last Friday we had a number of young people visit us from the 5th Woodbridge Sea Scouts. During the evening they listened to Paul Constantine tell them about the history of the ship and how it was excavated back in the 1930’s. The group had a tour of the longshed and looked at the plans … Continue reading 5th Woodbridge Sea Scouts identify their 5th rivet
Rendlesham is more famous for UFOs than Anglo-Saxons. But steady work over recent years has seen the area around St Gregory’s Church and Naunton Hall rise through the rankings to become a nationally significant Anglo-Saxon site. About twenty years ago, holes started being surreptitiously dug there at night. It got worse, and the place was … Continue reading Sutton Hoo Ship links with Rendlesham finds
Some of the earliest boats known were made from hollowed out logs. As technologies developed these hollowed out logs were extended by adding planks, or strakes, sewn to the upper edges of the log to give more freeboard (the height of the side of the boat which sticks up above the water). Eventually boats and … Continue reading Why is the Sutton Hoo Ship fixed with rivets?
7th August 2019 – Press Release A national fundraising campaign is set to “Make Ship Happen” for a £1 million project to build a full-size reconstruction of the 7th century Sutton Hoo ship. The scheme has been launched to pay for the venture, which will bring together archaeologists, historians, experts in construction and shipbuilding and … Continue reading Sutton Hoo Ship’s Co. ‘Make’s Ship Happen’
In recent months Damian Goodburn has introduced us to working with a Holly Mallet which is made from the natural branch growth of a holly tree. When making a Holly mallet the tree is chosen because of the way it grows. The thing to look for is where side branches appear in several places at … Continue reading Holly mallets and nailing dollies for the Saxon Ship
On the 13th July, Sae Wylfing set off at five o’clock on Saturday morning for pride of place at the opening of the British Museum’s contribution to the Festival of Archaeology. Organised by the British Council of Archaeology, the festival runs from 13 to 28 July across the UK. An unintended detour via Trafalgar Square … Continue reading Sae Wylfing at the British Museum, London
This might be a case of whatever turns you on, but we are about to start prepping the Longshed to receive the tree for the keel. This will mark the start of our re-creation of the Sutton Hoo ship later this year. Whatever possible we try to reproduce what the Anglo-Saxons would have done but … Continue reading Excitement in the Longshed as the Saxon Ship progresses
On Saturday 23rd June Woodbridge hosted their annual Regatta to celebrate all things connected to the river Deben. This was the perfect opportunity to invite Damian Goodburn to the Longshed to demonstrate how to split a large oak log using wedges, hammers and man power. The piece of French Oak arrived from the Crown Estates … Continue reading Woodbridge Regatta – Log Splitting
Does your pulse quicken when you see those words? Wikipedia describes a total station as “an electronic transit theodolite integrated with electronic distance measurement (EDM) to measure both vertical and horizontal angles and the slope distance from the instrument to a particular point, and an on-board computer to collect data and perform triangulation calculations.” So … Continue reading Saxon Ship thinks about using a Total Station
The photographs below show a treenail fixing that was recently made at Roskilde, Denmark. The plank is made of riven oak and the treenail made from carved willow. Note the direction of the grain on the head of the treenail. On the other side, you can see that the slit for the wedge was cut … Continue reading Using the natural grain of wood to gain maximum strength
On the 29th and 30th of April we had the pleasure of hosting Damian Goodburn for a two day workshop about identifying and working with timber ready to be used in ship and boat building so that our volunteers will be skilled up on the techniques that we believe where used on the original Anglo-Saxon … Continue reading From ‘Tree to Sea’ with Damian Goodburn
Whilst we do not know where the oak for the original ship came from – there were only a few traces left on the oxidised iron nails that fixed the planks together – we do know that the wood was still green. That means it was felled just before the build and was much easier … Continue reading What sort of oaks should we use to build the Sutton Hoo Ship?
In October 2018 we invited experts from across the world to look at our research and preparations to help us finalise the Sutton Hoo Ship plans. This phase is now much closer to completion and the final papers are being worked on ready for publication after Easter. Now in March 2019 as we move from … Continue reading A new phase for the Ship’s Co.
As we advertise for a Master Shipwright we are one step closer to building this amazing reconstruction of the Sutton Hoo ship and one step closer to understanding more about our Anglo Saxon ancestors. The months and months of research to turn the historical records into a set of usable plans is coming to a … Continue reading An Historic Milestone
Master Shipwright We are looking to recruit a part time Master Shipwright who has experience of using green oak with a clinker style construction. For a better understanding of the role please download the Job Description below. To arrange an informal discussion please email email@example.com The Sutton Hoo Ship’s Company_Master Shipwright_Job Description Application deadline: 31st … Continue reading The Ship’s Co. is looking for a Master Shipwright
For hundreds of years either side of the Sutton Hoo ship, North Sea vessels had provision for oars all the way along, with no break in the middle. Our ship has tholes to hook the oars onto. But no traces of them were ever found amidships. Ah, we say, that’s because the burial chamber was … Continue reading Tholier than thou
Late last year, we at The Sutton Hoo Ship’s Company were delighted to hear from Richard Cole- Mackintosh, Clerk of the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights. Richard informed us that the Shipwrights were generously contributing to the education aspects of our ship building project and were ‘proud to be associated with The Ship’s Company’. Their donation … Continue reading Presentation of the prestigious Worshipful Company of Shipwrights plaque
What could be more appropriate to the reconstruction of the Sutton Hoo ship than support from the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights. The original purpose of the Company 700 years ago was to safeguard the quality of shipbuilding in London. This continues today with the presentation of annual awards of excellence. The Company maintains its strong links … Continue reading Worshipful Company of Shipwrights
An interesting article published by the Southhampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI) Link to article (will open in a new tab) Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI) is a unique, internationally recognised centre of excellence for research, innovation and education. Their work spans both the natural ocean environment (marine) and human use of the sea … Continue reading Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute