'Fantastic day' as keel arrives and Sutton Hoo ship build begins

Volunteers welcomed the keel at The Longshed in Woodbridge, which is a key moment in the build.

Volunteers welcomed the keel at The Longshed in Woodbridge, which is a key moment in the build. - Credit: Sutton Hoo Ship's Company

The backbone of the Sutton Hoo replica ship will now begin to come together after the structure's keel was delivered. 

The Sutton Hoo longship, which inspired the new Netflix film The Dig, is being carefully restored from scratch by volunteers at The Longshed in Woodbridge, after it was buried more than 1,400 years ago. 

And today the build became even more exciting as the keel pieces were trailered to The Longshed from The Sutton Hoo Ship's Company's second site along the A12 in Wickham Market. 

The keel arriving at The Longshed in Woodbridge.

The keel arriving at The Longshed in Woodbridge. - Credit: Sutton Hoo Ship's Company

The keel is the lengthwise timber structure along the base of a ship, which supports the framework of the ship.

Trustee Simon Steel with a hand made traditional hammer made from a holly tree that is being used to

Trustee Simon Steel with a handmade traditional hammer made from a holly tree that is being used to build the Sutton Hoo Ship. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Simon Steel, trustee of the project, said: "It was a fantastic day for The Sutton Hoo Ship's Company.

"We now have the keel blanks in The Longshed to begin the first steps of the build, laying the backbone of the Sutton Hoo ship.

The keel was carefully placed in The Longshed, so volunteers can start to build the replica. 

The keel was carefully placed in The Longshed, so volunteers can start to build the replica. - Credit: Sutton Hoo Ship's Company

"The next six to eight months will see the completion of the outer hull but we need as much support as possible with our Crowdfunder and donations to ensure we can maintain this momentum.


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"Very many thanks to all who have contributed!" 

The ship is being built using tools that our Anglo-Saxon predecessors would have used, such as axes, and is expected to be complete in 2023, when it will finally set sail on the River Deben.

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The build has been going on for the past few years, just a few miles away from the mound at Sutton Hoo, where the iconic burial ship was found in 1939. 

The keel arriving for the Sutton Hoo replica which is being built at The Longshed in Woodbridge.

The keel arriving for the Sutton Hoo replica which is being built at The Longshed in Woodbridge. - Credit: Sutton Hoo Ship's Company

Teams have now raised more than £16,000 towards funding the build, but are still seeking more support to help their vision come to life. 

You can visit the fundraising page here and for more details on the build see the Sutton Hoo Ship's Company website.

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