Suffolk: Museums linking up to celebrate anniversary of Sutton Hoo find

Sutton Hoo visitor centre.

Sutton Hoo visitor centre. - Credit: Archant

Suffolk had never seen anything like the attention the Sutton Hoo find brought to the county in the late 1930s.

Now as the 75th anniversary of the nation’s most important archaeological find approaches, Ipswich Museum and the National Trust are considering working together to celebrate the find.

It was a team from Ipswich Museum, led by archaeologist Basil Brown, that made the first major discovery in the field owned by Edith Pretty during 1938 and 1939.

The Anglo Saxon burial ship was discovered in its entirety in 1939, by which time a team from Cambridge University’s archaeology department and the government’s Department of Works had joined the Ipswich Museum staff.

The tension between the local team and the experts from Cambridge became legendary – and helped add to the legend of Sutton Hoo. Now, officials are looking at ways Ipswich Museum and the National Trust can co-operate to celebrate the anniversary.


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Borough councillor with responsibility for leisure and culture, Bryony Rudkin, said: “There is nothing planned yet, but the Sutton Hoo dig was very important – and we would like to celebrate Ipswich Museum’s role in the story.”

The town’s role as the first settlement established by the Anglo Saxons during the Dark Ages is one that is being celebrated. The burial at Sutton Hoo is thought to be that of Raedwald, who was the king of East Anglia in the sixth and seventh centuries.

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Elizabeth Rohde, the National Trust’s Visitor Services Manager at Sutton Hoo said they would be planning their special events for next year during the next few months.

“The anniversary will form part of those events – and we would love to talk to Ipswich Museum about marking their role in the history of Sutton Hoo.”

Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey has made contact with the British Museum, which holds the original treasures from Sutton Hoo, and said it was vital that the anniversary should be celebrated. She said: “This is very important for tourism in Suffolk. I hope any event is a great success.”

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