We Few People - a new installation at Sutton Hoo

Large burial mound and Tranmer House at Sutton Hoo

In the summer of 1939, archaeologist Basil Brown arrived at Sutton Hoo to begin an excavation that would change our understanding of history forever. This brand new installation tells that story and reveals the extraordinary characters that played a part.

" Here we were, we few people responsible for an enormously valuable find. "
- Archaeologist Peggy Piggott

When the Sutton Hoo treasures were first discovered they were brought into the home of Mrs Edith Pretty, the woman who had instigated the excavations on her land. 

She was one of the wealthiest women in the country, experienced in world travel, and heartbroken after the death of her husband. 

Basil Brown was a local Suffolk man - a self-taught archaeologist whose down-to-earth knowledge of the local soils made him the perfect man to begin the sensitive excavations. 

Charles Phillips, a senior archaeologist, was called in to take over the excavations. He was a very different character to Basil, very ordered and organised and modern. 

Stuart and Peggy Piggott were young archaeologists - a married couple who brought a sense of youth and adventure to the dig. Peggy was the first person to find gold. 

Another woman who played an instrumental role in the story was Mercie Lack - a school teacher and amateur photographer, whose images are a unique record of the excavations. 

The dig was also seen through the eyes of a small boy - little Robert Pretty, the son of Edith. At one stage he buried his rollerskate in the ground, which would resurface during the 1980s excavations, causing much confusion for the archaeologists! 

All of these wonderful characters are explored in a new exhibition in the Dining Room of Mrs Pretty's House.