letters • news • news focus • SPECIAL REPORT • comment • context
New dig at Sutton Hoo
Expanding the story of a royal burial ground inns
Ml Trust Images_Justin
What’s new at Sutton Hoo? Alison Tel fer and Laura Howarth report on the first excavation to take place within the scheduled monument for almost 30 years.
Close to three decades have passed since archaeologists last carried out investigations within Sutton Hoo’s Anglo-Saxon royal burial ground – but now trenches opened close to the famous Mound One ship burial have uncovered clues to the people who visited this spot before and after the early medieval barrows were built.
The site, now in the care of the National Trust, is currently being transformed under the HLF-funded ‘Releasing the Sutton Hoo Story’ project. This initiative will see visitor facilities improved and exhibition spaces updated to reflect the latest research, as well as new experiences for the public, including a full-scale sculptural representation of the Mound One ship, and a new walk to the royal burial ground immersing visitors in the surrounding landscape and taking in one of the possible routes that the Mound One ship may have followed when it was dragged from the nearby River Deben to its burial site.
Plans also include a 17m-high viewing tower, located close to Mound One and offering visitors an elevated view of the whole cemetery site and how it fits into the wider landscape. As the tower’s footprint will lie within the Scheduled Monument, this area was excavated by MOLA with the help of National Trust volunteers between 29 May and 2 June. The investigation included one trench covering the location of the tower base, and three more smaller ones over planned anchor points for an access ramp.
above Overlooking Sutton
Hoo’ s AngloS axon royal burial ground.
below National Trust volunteers at work during the recent excavation.