Let's Plank the Ship!

by The Sutton Hoo Ship's Company in Woodbridge, Suffolk, United Kingdom

We did it
On 30th June 2023 we successfully raised £26,487 ( + est. £2888.50 Gift Aid ) with 488 supporters in 61 days

Have you heard of the Sutton Hoo Burial or the film "The Dig"? We are building a full sized, sea-going replica of the buried Ship!

Project by The Sutton Hoo Ship's Company

A picture containing watercraft, boat  Description automatically generatedWe rarely get a chance in our lives to make history and build a legacy for future generations. The extraordinary tale of uncovering an immense Anglo-Saxon King's burial ship and its golden treasure at Sutton Hoo is a story for all ages, recounted in the Netflix film "The Dig". The Sutton Hoo Ship's Company has taken on the iconic task of building and taking to sea, a copy of the ship that was buried at Sutton Hoo in around 625 and was possibly the grave of King Raedwald.

The ship is being built as authentically as possible in Woodbridge, Suffolk, less than a mile as the crow flies from where the original ship was buried. Our many local volunteers are using traditional tools and a design based on the archaeological knowledge from the site, plus modern-day research techniques. It is planned that the maiden voyage will take place in the spring of 2025 and follow some of the river and sea routes that the original sailors may have taken.

A brief history of the Ship

The burial mounds at Sutton Hoo were originally excavated by Basil Brown, an amateur archaeologist who worked for Mrs Pretty, the widowed owner of the estate. The retelling of their story in the Netflix film "The Dig", is capturing peoples' imagination all over the world. The first hurried excavation at Sutton Hoo was in 1939 on the cusp of the Second World War. Since then, we have learned a lot about the treasures that were found.  But, over eighty years on, there is still much to learn about the ship and the treasure that was buried in it.

When the burial mound was excavated all that remained of the ship was an imprint in the sand where the wood had been and the rusty remains of thousands of iron rivets that had fixed the planks together.  Three years of research, based on the archaeological records, and modelling using the latest digital technologies means that we now have accurate plans to rebuild a ship, as near as possible to the one that the Anglo-Saxons buried. 

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"Working on the film The Dig has given me a compelling insight into the history of Sutton Hoo. I am very excited that a team of volunteers at the Sutton Hoo Ship's Company are actually recreating King Raedwald's famous vessel... I can't wait to see it when it is finished.  I wish everyone involved all success in this great project!" Ralph Fiennes

Our Volunteers

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Our Volunteers come from all walks of life, ranging in age from 16 to over 90 are taking part in the project, under the guidance of our professional shipwright, and other experts. They have worked valiantly throughout Covid and have dealt with many challenges not least some flooding in the Longshed during the storms in 2022!

Progress to date


We have been incredibly lucky with donations of oak to make the keel of the ship from local landowners. Each individual piece of the keel required about 400 hours of axe work to create and the full keel was finished at the end of last year, or so we thought! When disaster struck and it was discovered that one of the sections had split and would have to be replaced. This resulted in a nationwide hunt for just the right piece of timber which took three months and a huge social media campaign.


Looking forward

The new section of the keel was fitted in November and the very first plank nailed to the ship late last year. We are now ready to fully plank the ship but we need to make up the time we have lost and progress at speed!

To do this we need your help! We need to raise £50,000 to cover our rent and provide the necessary safety equipment, tools and training to our volunteers, as well as to pay our skilled shipwrights to supervise the workforce and get back up to speed. The project is not fully funded so we are always looking for ways to raise funds. This Crowdfunder is our way of appealing to a wide audience who can help us complete the ship.

Please give generously!

Everyone who donates to this campaign is helping to get the project back on target and contributing to the continuing story of the magnificent ship built for a King in the 7th century!

What will you get? 

We appreciate every pound that is donated and cannot express our gratitude deeply enough. As a small token of our thanks, we have developed a fantastic range of rewards that you can receive as one of our Crowdfunders. In addition, we have created some special opportunities to talk to our Master Shipwright - Tim Kirk or Professor Emeritus Martin Carver - Archeologist and Ship's Historian extraordinaire or even to visit the project and learn how to use an axe!

Please follow us on Social media (@SaxonShip or @SuttonHooShipsCompany) and signup for our Newsletter via the website for detailed insights into the experiments we are conducting and how the build is progressing.




This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£30 or more

72 of 100 claimed

Take me with you!

Chose this reward and you will receive our fabulous Sutton Hoo Ship's Company Tote bag. Great for carrying things or as a conversation starter!!

£2 or more

Though it is small it is mighty

We are grateful for each and any donation received and you will receive a personal email from our Shipwright expressing our thanks and gratitude

£5 or more

It's better by mail

If you love getting post, this is for you, we will send you a postcard by mail to show our thanks!

£20 or more

I'll drop you a line

This reward is a pack of six individually designed black and white postcards showing images relating to the project and archaeology.

£50 or more

20 of 30 claimed


Saxons probably had a mug of ale at breakfast, but you can enjoy your morning cuppa in this fantastic Ship's Company Mug! Please add an extra £10 if you would like it posting internationally.

£100 or more

19 of 30 claimed

Read All About It

Would you like to know more about the history of the original Sutton Hoo Ship? Receive a signed copy of 'The Sutton Hoo Story' written by the Ship's Company's own Emeritus Professor, Martin Carver. Please donate an additional £10 if you would like this posted internationally.

£100 or more

0 of 20 claimed

Writing the Future

Write your entries in the Captain's log using this ballpoint pen, hand-carved from off-cuts of the oak used to plank the ship. Please add an extra £10 for international postage.

£125 or more

3 of 25 claimed

Pretty As a Picture

Display this limited edition print of the build plan of the Sutton Hoo Ship in pride of place! A3 size. All prints are signed by the Master Shipwright, Project Manage and Emeritus Professor, Marin Carver. Chose from fore or aft view. Please donate an additional £10 if you would like this posted internationally.

£125 or more

1 of 2 claimed

Don't get left behind!

Hand spun and hand woven, woolly seat mat to keep your behind warm when rowing off on an early morning raid or sitting on your favourite garden chair. The mats are roughly rectuangular and approxiamtely 37 x 45cm. Please add an extra £10 for international postage.

£125 or more

0 of 3 claimed

Bowled Over

Georgeous, hand turned wooden bowl, made from offcuts of the oak used to plank the ship! For international postage please add an additional £10 donation.

£150 or more

Well Planned!

An A2-sized plan of the Ship, the same as the one we are using. All prints are signed by the Master Shipwright, Project Manage and Emeritus Professor, Marin Carver. Please donate an additional £10 if you would like this posted internationally.

£200 or more

4 of 6 claimed

Working 9-5

Great for building a Saxon Ship, working around the house, garden or having a BBQ! Leather apron, in the style of the chaps used in the Longshed, with adjustable strap and pocket. Please donate an additional £15 if you would like this posted internationally.

£1,000 or more

0 of 8 claimed

Ask me anything....

What would you like to know about the Saxon Ship? Why not have a private telephone or Zoom call for up to 90 minutes with either our Shipwright Tim Kirk or Emeritus Professor Martin Carver and have all your questions answered? You could include your friends and family. Arrangements will be made at the end of the Crowdfunder.

£5,000 or more

King or Queen for the Day!

Be treated like a King or Queen for a day! We will arrange a tailor-made visit for you to the Longshed and Sutton Hoo Sites. See the volunteers in action, ask questions of the team of experts, and includes an overnight stay in Woodbridge and dinner for 2. Arrangements will be made at the end of the Crowdfunder.

£10 or more

60 of 60 claimed

Don't pin yourself down!

If you choose this reward, you will receive our smart and elegant pin badge. Pin it on your lapel, bag, lanyard and wear with pride!

£50 or more

33 of 33 claimed

Unlock the future

Receive a fabulous, hand-turned oak key ring, made from wooden offcuts from The Sutton Hoo Ship. Keyrings have metal fixings and a branded leather label.

£60 or more

7 of 7 claimed

Lettuce Plank the Ship

Enjoy your salad in style! Wooden salad server set hand carved form offcuts of the wood being used to plank the ship! Please add an extra 10 if you would like these to be posted internationally.

£250 or more

2 of 2 claimed

Take a seat

Hand carved and unique, three legged stool, made from off cuts of the oak used to build the Ship. We are unable to ship this internationally. Sorry

£250 or more

1 of 1 claimed

Time Lord

Absolutely unique, fabulous, hand carved wooden clock, made from off cuts of oak use to build the ship. if you would like this posting internationally please add at least £10 to your donation.

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