WORK has started on a major new exhibition that will give history enthusiasts the chance to view an ancient royal burial chamber like never before.

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Currently visitors to the National Trust’s Sutton Hoo site, near Woodbridge, have to look from a far at Anglo-Saxon King Raedwald’s final resting place.

But now work has begun on creating a life-size replica burial chamber that visitors can step inside and experience what life was like back in 626AD.

Builders from Gipping Construction were on site today lifting the large wooden structure to floor level using hydraulic jacks.

Over the coming weeks work will continue to make the chamber accessible to visitors for the first time.

As part of the new experience people will not only be able to walk through the royal burial chamber to pay homage to the King and get close to his replica grave goods, they will also be able to experience the sounds and smells of the past.

Elizabeth Rohde, visitor services manager at Sutton Hoo, is the driving force behind the project.

She said: “We want to create an atmosphere that will transport our visitors back in time to the Dark Ages and the night a legendary king was buried.

“We want to help them connect with the incredible story that was uncovered here at Sutton Hoo. The plan is to make the whole experience more interactive and hands on, bringing the whole site to life for our visitors.”

The exhibition hall will remain open throughout the duration of the work so that visitors can see it in progress and volunteers will be on hand to talk about the project.

The grand unveiling of the accessible royal burial chamber will be in April.

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