The Sutton Hoo Burial Ship

By C. W. Phillips M.A. F.S.A., published November 1940


Initial observations on the finding of the burial ship at Sutton Hoo in the summer of 1939 are here set out, with illustrations. The ship was an Anglo-Saxon burial ship in the graveyard of the family of the Uffings, the pagan rulers of the kingdom of East Angles. A large open clinker built rowing boat some 80 feet long, with a maximum beam of 14 feet and a depth of 5 feet. Built of oak using clench nails it was constructed without a keel. It showed signs of previous use before burial. No steering oar (or other oar) was found, but signs of where a steering oar was fitted and used were detected. A wooden burial chamber was built within the ship before burial. The ship was well supported and preserved in sand. Further opinion from Lt.-Cdr Hutchinson RN of the Science Museum, under whose direction the examination and survey of the ship was carried out, must await his return from naval duties, which he resumed on the outbreak of war a week after completion of the excavation.

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Filed under: Early Middle Ages | North Sea
Subjects include: Archaeology | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Shipbuilding & Design

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