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11 Oct 2017

Sutton Hoo viewing tower plans get HLF funding
BY Tom Anstey

The top floor will offer views of the entire burial ground, through to the River Deben

The top floor will offer views of the entire burial ground, through to the River Deben
photo: National Trust

Plans to build a 17m (56ft) viewing tower at one of Britain’s most archaeologically-significant sites can go ahead following a £1.8m (US$2.4m, €2m) donation from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

In 1939 a hoard of treasures were discovered at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, believed to be the final resting place of the 7th Century King Raedwald of East Anglia.

The project, which will cost £4m (US$5.3m, €4.5m) in total, means a permanent tower will replace the smaller temporary version, with Suffolk Coastal Council also granting planning permission to improve the site’s visitor centre and build new experiences in its exhibition hall.

The observation tower has been conceptualised by architecture firm Nissen Richards Studio, with the top floor offering views of the entire burial ground, through to the River Deben.

A new route allowing visitors to “walk in the steps of the Anglo-Saxons” is also part of the project, as are enhanced guided tours, new activities and installations, innovative interpretation and creative programming, which will sit alongside a school education programme.

Allison Girling, property operations manager at Sutton Hoo, said: “We welcome visitors with a wide range of interests and knowledge to Sutton Hoo and these plans are all about sharing more about the history of this special place, helping visitors delve deeper into the lives of the Anglo-Saxons who settled here, the people who discovered them and to learn more about what it is that makes Sutton Hoo so fascinating.

“From why the Anglo-Saxons chose to bury their king here and how their lives and traditions have influenced English culture for generations, to how the determination of one remarkable woman led to the discoveries in the first place, there are so many stories to tell. Thanks to National Lottery players who make these grants possible, we’ll be able to move forward with our plans.”

The British Museum is also involved in the project, due for completion in 2021, with the institution helping to develop both the Sutton Hoo landscape and its exhibition hall.



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