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Sutton Hoo attraction moves closer

PUBLISHED: 23:00 26 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:26 03 March 2010

CREATION of a new £5 million tourist attraction for Suffolk moved a step closer today with the arrival of a giant warrior's helmet.

The 2metre high steel helmet was winched into place above the entrance to the National Trust's exhibition centre at Sutton Hoo, one of Europe's most important archaeological sites.

CREATION of a new £5 million tourist attraction for Suffolk moved a step closer today with the arrival of a giant warrior's helmet.

The 2metre high steel helmet was winched into place above the entrance to the National Trust's exhibition centre at Sutton Hoo, one of Europe's most important archaeological sites.

The exhibition – funded by a £3.6m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund – is scheduled to open to the public on March 14.

The three dimensional helmet, weighing 900kg, is a representation of the famous Anglo-Saxon warrior helmet and was created by Hertfordshire sculptor, Rick Kirby, renowned for his large-scale public commissions. The helmet was lifted delicately into place using steel chains and supported by cables and bolts.

Mr Kirby said he had been asked to make a helmet with a "fierce presence". He had made it from many fragments of metal, similar to how an archaeologist would piece a discovered item together.

National Trust spokeswoman, Kate Jones, said: "It is fantastic – such a striking image and it has a real wow factor."

The new exhibition will feature some of the original treasures found at Sutton Hoo in 1939, which are on temporary loan from the British Museum. It will be the first time that the treasure has been back to Sutton Hoo since their discovery.

The exhibition will also include a full size reconstruction of the 89ft ship's burial chamber. It will be a tableau of how it is believed the funeral scene of King Raedwald would have appeared.

A ghostly figure of the wealthy Wuffings king – who died in 625 AD – will lie in the chamber surrounded by his worldly goods.

On display there will also be replica treasures authentically crafted using traditional materials and methods. As part of the development The National Trust has improved access to the grave field and has added educational and visitor facilities to the site.

Poet Seamus Heaney will officially open the exhibition at a ceremony on March 13.

WEBLINKS:

www.nationaltrust.org.uk

www.wuffings.co.uk

www.suttonhoo.org

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