SUTTON HOO A T Sutton Hoo the new excavations have doubled the known size of the cemetery. The famous Anglo-Saxon ship burial excavated in 1939 lay under the biggest of the 14 barrows in the cemetery (marked V-VI on plan, right), but these barrows were surrounded by simple inhumations, presumably of the lesser folk. Now the discovery of three further inhumations lying some distance outside the area of the barrows (XX on plan), shows that the cemetery was very much bigger than had been previously realised.
sprayed on sand and other soils to prevent it from breaking up. I saw ditches dug in the sand which had been open for two months, but looked as if they had only been excavated yesterday. The best example is that of an excavated inhumation (see photo overleaf) which was only indicated by the difference in soil colours but where,
thanks to the use of Vinamul, the outline of the body could be perfectly conserved—showing with various degrees of clarity the position of bones, skin and flesh. Vinamul is available in 20 litre drums, price £200, from Vinamul Products Ltd., Mill Lane, Carshalton, Surrey SM5 2JU.
One of the major exercises has
The Sutton Hoo Research Project, carried out by the Sutton Hoo Research Trust and funded by the Society of Antiquaries, the British Museum, the BBC and the National Maritime Museum among other sponsors, is under the direction of Martin Carver of the Birmingham University Field Archaeology Unit and has now completed its first year's work. It has concentrated so far on experimental work and extensive surveys of all kinds, including documentary research, and also in practising their excavation techniques. They have also 'tidied up' the site most splendidly, so it now is possible to see the barrow group as a whole, uncluttered by bracken.
Much of the excavation has been devoted to the technical aspects. One valuable exercise was to re-excavate the anti-glider trench dug by a mechanical excavator during the war right across the site, to prevent German gliders from landing (XXIII on plan). This has dramatically revealed how the bracken roots are liable to do far more damage to a heath site like this than ploughing.
And then they have pioneered the use of a chemical soil stabiliser, known as Vinamul. This is a water based resin emulsion, which can be
Plan of Sutton Hoo: the 1984 "interventions" are shown in black. III and XXVI is the re-excavation of barrow 2. XXIII is the war-time anti-glider trench. XX is the long trench to find extent of the prehistoric material (and which also produced the inhumations). XXII is the other long trench which produced the Bronze Age material. The "ship barrow" is marked V-VI.