British Museum backs Sutton Hoo ship campaign
PUBLISHED: 12:10 11 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:10 11 November 2019
A project to build a full-size 90ft replica of the boat buried beneath the mounds of Sutton Hoo has been backed by the curator of the British Museum.
Dr Gareth Williams, an Anglo-Saxon and Viking specialist, has lent his support to the Make Ship Happen Campaign, the initiative started by The Sutton Hoo Ship Company (SHSC).
Dr Williams, who has worked for the British Museum for 23 years, said: "Experimental archaeology like this is an extremely valuable way of finding out more about the past.
"This is an incredibly exciting project. There has been some very successful work done building replicas and reconstructions of Viking ships in the past - and even smaller versions of the Anglo-Saxon ship from Sutton Hoo.
"But this is the first time anyone has attempted to build a full-scale reconstruction of this vessel - and test it on water."
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.
The £1million campaign began in the summer and has already raised at least £8,500 so far from sponsorship of the rivets and various other parts of the ship build.
Dr Williams said: "I will be sponsoring a rivet and hope others will too. It's a great way to be a part of something truly extraordinary."
Now, members of the public can own one of the oars that will be built to navigate the vessel on the maiden's voyage down the Deben.
Philip Leech, chairman and director of the Sutton Hoo Ship's Company, said he was delighted to have received Dr Williams support.
"The Sutton Hoo treasure has its home at the British Museum so our links there have always been strong," he said.
"We were thrilled to be able to show Dr Williams around the Longshed and get his thoughts on our plans.
"We hope this ship will provide key insights into Anglo-Saxon construction, skills and seamanship - and it appears the British Museum agree with us."
To sponsor one of the rivets, fixings or oars, please go to: saxonship.org/sponsor-a-fixing/