£1million campaign to be launched tonight for full-size Sutton Hoo replica ship

The new pathway shows the burial route of the Anglo-Saxon ship carrying King Raedwald. Picture: GEMM

The new pathway shows the burial route of the Anglo-Saxon ship carrying King Raedwald. Picture: GEMMA JARVIS - Credit: Picture: GEMMA JARVIS

It was buried back in the 7th century but now history enthusiasts are aiming to bring it to life again – and show people exactly what it would have looked like.

The new ship sculpture at Sutton Hoo the appeal will help fund a working ship this size Picture: S

The new ship sculpture at Sutton Hoo the appeal will help fund a working ship this size Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

The Sutton Hoo Ship Company (SHSC) is aiming to raise £1million to build a replica, working version of the royal burial ship entombed in the mounds at the world famous Saxon archaeological site on the banks of the River Deben.

Tonight the #MakeShipHappen campaign will be launched at The Longshed in Woodbridge, where members from the SHSC panel will answer questions about the construction and show interactive exhibits displaying ancient boat building methods and skills.

In collaboration with the National Trust and the Woodbridge Riverside Trust, the SHSC was formed in 2016 for the sole purpose of reproducing an exact copy of the famous find, with the shared hope of seeing the ship's skeleton in the sand transformed into a robust real life boat sailing graciously along the Deben.

Sea trials will take place once the 90ft replica ship has been built, testing the efficiency of the model and hoping to gain further insights in to how the ship historically held its own in the turbulent times of the dark ages.


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Once trial by ocean is complete, the vessel will take part in a grand re-enactment of the original burial trail that would have taken King Raedwald to his final resting place.

Members of the public have been invited to sponsor parts of the building materials from metal rivets to hand-crafted wooden tree nails.

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There will also be opportunities for apprentice students and volunteers to participate in the creation of the ship in an effort to involve the community as much as possible in getting this hugely anticipated project, literally, off the ground.

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