The backbone of a replica Sutton Hoo longship has been completed, after a nine-month delay.

The delay to the £1 million project was caused when one of the first wooden pieces split. 

"The first piece that we secured, unfortunately it split, which is one of the hazards of using freshly sawn, unseasoned timber," said Tim Kirk, the projects master shipwright.

"We had to go and source another tree that was exactly the same shape as the one we had before".

East Anglian Daily Times: Tim Kirk is the project's master shipwrightTim Kirk is the project's master shipwright (Image: PA)

It took around six months to find a suitable tree, and then 450 hours to craft the new piece.

The replica is of an original 88ft-long Saxon ship that was excavated in 1939, and was the subject of Netflix film 'The Dig'. 

Read more: Where in Suffolk did Netflix's The Dig film?

The original early 7th century longship has been described as a 'ghost ship', as the acidic sand caused the timber to rot away and leave only an imprint in the sand. 

The replica reconstruction is being built in Woodbridge by charity Sutton Hoo Ship's Company, and is funded by donations. 

East Anglian Daily Times: The bolts used on the replica of the 7th century Sutton Hoo longshipThe bolts used on the replica of the 7th century Sutton Hoo longship (Image: PA)

Around one third of the planks have been fastened on to the replica, with the remaining planks expected to be in place by the end of the year. 

It can take 60 hours to make each plank and fasten it to the ship.

Three National Trust apprentice joiners joined the volunteers last week, including Josh Bobbet

East Anglian Daily Times: Josh Bobbet (left) is a National Trust apprentice on a two-week placementJosh Bobbet (left) is a National Trust apprentice on a two-week placement (Image: PA)

"It's nothing like I've ever done before," he said. 

"Almost 90ft of oak timber, all hand planed with axes, it's a bit unusual". 

It is expected that the replica will be ready to be tested on the water by spring of 2025.

Following the project, it is hoped the longship replica will become a tourist attraction.

Read more: What was found at Sutton Hoo?