image captionThe Sutton Hoo Ship’s Company wants to build a lifesize replica of the 1,400-year-old Anglo-Saxon ship
Volunteers hoping to create a replica of the Anglo-Saxon ship found at Sutton Hoo have had their schedule put back because of the pandemic.
The story of the ship’s discovery in 1939 near Woodbridge, Suffolk, is explored in the hit Netflix film The Dig.
image captionThe Dig stars Carey Mulligan as Sutton Hoo landowner Edith Pretty and Ralph Fiennes as the archaeologist Basil Brown
Trustee Simon Steel said many of the volunteers have had to shield but some work had proceeded last year, including “a one-fifth scale model of the ship and a lifesize model of the middle section”.
They are intended to help the volunteers, led by a shipwright and his trainee, to build the replica.
image captionThey have created a lifesize section of the ship to try to work out where to put its rowing floor. The finished ship needs 40 rowers and will stand 15 feet (5 metres) high
image captionTwo 180-year-old oak trees will form the replica’s keel. Seven tonnes of green oak is needed to complete the ship
Mr Steel said: “The ship was buried without a rowing floor, so we’re having to work out where we ought to place it – this is experimental archaeology.”
The 180-year-old oak trees came from Forestry England land near Swindon in Wiltshire.
They are so large – the heaviest weighs about five tonnes (5,000kg) – that they are being stored outside Woodbridge and will need to be roughly cut to size using a chainsaw.
image captionThe outline of the ship was discovered in 1939. The wood had disappeared but its iron rivets remained
image captionThe volunteers plan to use copper rivets in their replica as they will last longer in sea conditions. They need 3,598 rivets
The keel pieces will then be taken to the town to be finished off using purpose-build Anglo-Saxon tools.
Mr Steel said: “There’s no record of Anglo-Saxons having saws, so we will be splitting logs to make planks using an axe and wedges.”
He hopes work on the ship’s keel might begin at the end of March.
image captionA replica of the helmet is at Sutton Hoo. The finds transformed historians’ understanding of the Anglo-Saxon era
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