Unforgettable Sutton Hoo! (Cherry Thinn, ITP 2018, Myanmar)
I am Cherry Thinn, Assistant Curator of the Halin Archaeological Museum in Myanmar, and a 2018 ITP Fellow.
On Saturday (14 July), we got the chance to go on an exciting day trip to the famous Sutton Hoo. First we met with our ITP Manager, Claire, at Schafer House and then we started our journey together with the ITP team. Although we had to take a coach for two hours, it was another great opportunity to get to know each other better. Jessica (ITP Assistant) and I talked about our families, we celebrated Roshan’s (ITP fellow from Nepal) birthday, with Becca (ITP Coordinator) passing out chocolates and listened to the traditional songs of my ITP friends (Roshan from Nepal, Rana from Egypt and Hoda from Lebanon).
After we arrived at Sutton Hoo, Rosemary Hoppitt, our Sutton Hoo Society Guide, led our tour to the area of the burial mounds which had two 6th and early 7th century cemeteries. The largest of these mounds was Mound One, excavated by Basil Brown in 1939 at the request of the landowner, Mrs. Edith Pretty. Mound One made history with all it contained: the imprint of a 27-metre-long ship which had a ruined burial chamber, dating to the early AD 600s, inside packed with treasures like Byzantine silverware, gold jewellery, a lavish feasting set, and most famously, an ornate iron helmet.
All of these original objects are on display at the British Museum in Room 41: The Sir Paul and Lady Ruddock Gallery (Sutton Hoo and Europe, AD 300–1100), which we got a great tour of by Sue Brunning, Curator of Early Medieval European Collections, Britain Europe and Prehistory before we came out on site.
But the Exhibition and Treasury on-site at Sutton Hoo has an amazing reconstruction of the Mound One burial along with many informative sections which have multi-media presentations like videos and audio stands of music. Especially fun was the reconstructed royal helmet that everyone can play with!
Finally we visited Mrs Edith Pretty’s house (now named Tranmer House) which has been refurbished to look like it did back in the 1930s when she lived there with her family. Her house was also later used by the Land Army Girls during WWII who lived in Sutton Hoo and farmed the land. I was so impressed with the amazing views of nature from the house where you could see the excavation site from the Sitting Room and the Deben River from the Drawing Room.
I am very grateful to the ITP Team for this trip which has been a unique and amazing opportunity for me because it has many similarities with the site of Halin that I work at back home. Seeing Sutton Hoo has given me great ideas on how we can improve our site.