New gate guardian for historic site

SUFFOLK: It is recognised as one of the most iconic symbols of historic Britain and will forever be associated with one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the modern age.

And now visitors to the royal burial ground at Sutton Hoo, near Woodbridge, will be left in no doubt of its significance.

Craftsmen have just finished a project to create a giant “gate-guardian” at the popular attraction, featuring the distinctive Anglo-Saxon helmet.

It was made out of timber hewn from green oak using traditional axes from the 17th and 18th centuries and put together with early medieval joints, such as mortice and tenon.

Simon Peachey, visitor services manager, said: “We felt that there wasn’t anything at the entrance which shouted Sutton Hoo, re-assuring people that they had come to one of the most important places that tells the story of the birth of our nation.

“We wanted to create a feature which would do this and be an artwork in its own right. The design and method of the sign was very important, because we wanted to create something which echoed the Anglo Saxon history of the site and reflected the superb craftsmanship of the Anglo Saxon people – as demonstrated in the discovery of 1939.”

The guardian was created by Rick Lewis and his team of local craftsmen from Traditional Oak Carpentry while artist Tom Stadden completed the carving, which included applying a thin layer of 24 carat gold leaf to highlight certain areas of the image.

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