Sutton Hoo replica ship campaign sets sail at official launch night
- Credit: RACHEL EDGE
Up to 100 supporters attended the launch event for a new £1million campaign to build a working replica of the Sutton Hoo royal burial ship.
The project #MakeShipHappen aims to raise funds for the construction of a full-size version of the vessel that was unearthed at Sutton Hoo in 1939.
Held at The Longshed in Woodbridge, the event saw the Sutton Hoo Ship Company in collaboration with the Woodbridge Riverside Trust, showcase the plans to resurrect the 90ft ghost ship hidden beneath the mounds at the legendary site.
Bringing together archaeologists, historians and experts in shipbuilding, the team will use digital plans produced by Southampton University using original measurements taken from the imprint embedded in the earth.
The vessel will be assembled in the Long Shed at Tide Mill Way in Woodbridge, which is run by chairman Bryan Knibbs, who said: "What this project hopes to do is give people a tangible link to the past and we need to get everyone involved - young and old - to make this a possibility."
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The first phase of the donation programme will allow people to sponsor one of more than 3,500 numbered metal rivets that will hold the ship together. It is hoped this will raise enough money to contract a master shipwright to oversee the build.
Different parts of the ship - the keel, the planks and the stem and stern - will then be offered up for sponsorship to pay for the rest of the build, which is likely to take about two years to complete.
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Once built, using wood supplied by the Crown Estate, the ship will set sail down the River Deben for sea trials.
Bestowed with a full crew of 40 rowers, she will navigate her way back from her ocean assessment to recreate the memorial journey that King Raedwald would have taken on his funeral pathway up to the Sutton Hoo estate before coming to rest at the original discovery site.
Philip Leech, chairman and director of the Sutton Hoo Ship Company, said: "The beauty and dignity of this King's ship, tied into a serious scientific programme to learn more about our past, makes for a magnificent and worthwhile spectacle. After the trials the ship will become a movable exhibition piece."
To find out how to sponsor the build or donate to the appeal click here