Suffolk’s replica Sutton Hoo ship the Sae Wylfing basks in London glory
PUBLISHED: 10:40 03 August 2019 | UPDATED: 10:40 03 August 2019
Picture: BRYAN KNIBBS/WOODBRIDGE RIVERSIDE TRUST
At 5am in the glow of the early morning sunrise, the Sae Wylfing set off for the capital city
Being towed by a Ford Ranger, she arrived without a hitch to go on display at the Festival of Archaeology.
The 100-mile journey was seemingly plain sailing for the half-size replica based in Woodbridge, arriving at the British Museum in London in an impressive two and a half hours to be paraded in all her splendour.
The British Museum is world-famous for its invaluable Anglo-Saxon artefacts, most of which originated from Sutton Hoo.
They include gold jewellery, a feasting set, Byzantine silverware and an ornate iron helmet.
Dr Mike Heyworth MBE, director of the Council for British Archaeology, offically opened the event by climbing aboard the 45ft imitation of the Sutton Hoo burial ship.
Nearly 20,000 people then went in to the courtyard to see the stately ship, with Roman soldiers in full costume and East Anglia's own King Raedwald in full regalia.
The trip raised awareness for the #MakeShipHappen campaign being launched on August 7 at 5.30pm at the home of the Sae Wylfing - the Longshed by the riverside.
The campaign is trying to raise funds for the construction of a full-size 90ft replica of the 7th century Sutton Hoo burial boat.
Bryan Knibbs, chairman of the Woodbridge Riverside Trust, accompanied the Sae Wylfing on her epic journey and was thrilled by the interest shown in her at the exhibition.
He said: "People of all nationalities came to the museum, so many of them asking questions. 'Where is the boat from? Woodbridge? Sutton Hoo, what is that? Suffolk? How big? The buried ship was twice as long and twice as wide? You are joking me?'
"And so it went on one after another."
By the end of the afternoon, it was time to take down the sail and mast and get ready for the long journey back to Suffolk, arriving at the Longshed at 8.30pm.
Mr Knibbs said the trip was a huge success and concluded: "Foot sore, weary legged, with aching backs and very happy hearts from an absolutely wonderful day.
"Would we do it again?
"Yes, yes, yes."
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