May 2018: Archaeology Live at Sutton Hoo

Visual of proposed viewing tower at Sutton Hoo

In May, we took the first step towards our major work to transform your experience of Sutton Hoo. The first archaeological dig within the Sutton Hoo Scheduled Monument in nearly 30 years took place as we excavated the footprint of our new viewing tower.

This one-off archaeological dig took place within the Scheduled Monument at Sutton Hoo, right next to the Anglo-Saxon Royal Burial Ground.

This was to prepare the way ready for one of the exciting changes that will be happening at Sutton Hoo after we temporarily close on 30 September – the construction of a viewing tower nestled in the trees of Top Hat Wood which will overlook the Royal Burial Ground.

The dig was the first step amongst the many things we have planned on the site as part of our project, ‘Releasing the Sutton Hoo Story’.

Archaeological contractors, Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) were appointed especially for this work and brought their specialised experience and expertise with them for the dig. They were joined by a team of Sutton Hoo volunteers and staff to help with the excavation. 

We're going to be analysing the finds from the dig and then we'll be able to share more detail about what we found and what it has helped us learn about the history of Sutton Hoo.

View from the top
Visual of proposed viewing tower at Sutton Hoo
Visual of proposed viewing tower at Sutton Hoo
Visual of proposed viewing tower at Sutton Hoo

Once completed, the tower will measure just under 20m in total height, although as it will be sitting in a small dip within the woodland, it will appear shorter. Hidden in amongst the tree tops, it will provide a fantastic view out over the entire Royal Burial Grounds and the surrounding landscape.

When we first began developing our plans a few years ago, we constructed a test tower overlooking the Royal Burial Ground and found that this new elevated view gave visitors a better appreciation and understanding of the Royal Burial Grounds as a whole, the burial mounds and other marks left by both people and nature and how this all fits into the wider surrounding landscape.