Star of Netflix film The Dig, Ralph Fiennes, backs Sutton Hoo Ship Company's recreation of 90-foot long Anglo-Saxon ship
Actor Ralph Fiennes is supporting a project to build a replica of an historic Anglo-Saxon ship after he starred in a new Netflix film about the vessel.
The ship has become famous as the burial ground of East Anglian King Raedwald, believed to have been buried within the 90-foot long ship in 624AD.
The remains of the ship were buried at the now National Trust site, Sutton Hoo, in Woodbridge, Suffolk - and not discovered until over 13 centuries later, in 1939, by which time merely an imprint remained.
Now, for the first time, the Sutton Hoo Ship's Company are attempting to build a full-scale replica of the 90-foot long, and 10 foot tall, ship - and the project is finally just about ready to begin construction.
The construction, which is due to begin in March, coincides with new Netflix film The Dig, starring Ralph Fiennes and Carey Mulligan, which is due for release on the streaming service next week (January 29).
The film, based on a 2007 novel of the same name, reimagines the events of the 1939 excavation, which first discovered the ship.
Simon Steel, Trustee of the Sutton Hoo Ship's Company, says the replica build has the support of Ralph Fiennes, the star of the new Netflix adaptation.
He said: "We have been in touch with Ralph Fiennes, and he seems very supportive of what we are trying to do.
"We are hoping we can get a quote from him for our website, to help with our fundraising efforts.
"We had been hoping to do some promotion of the project to coincide with a cinema release of The Dig - but because of the pandemic, cinemas have obviously been closed and our project has been slightly delayed.
"However, we are hoping that there will still be a separate cinema release later in the year - and that we can raise awareness of the replica project at the same time."
The Sutton Hoo Ship's Company began planning and fundraising for their replica back in 2018.
And now, after creating smaller-scale models of the ship to test how the full-sized replica will work, they are almost ready to begin construction.
Simon added: "We have now taken delivery of the logs we will need for laying the keel - which we will begin to do around March or April time.
"From there, the project will progress at pace, and we hope to have completed the outer frame of the ship by the end of this year, before moving on to the interior in 2022.
"So from a visual point of view, the most dramatic change will take place over the next 11 months."
Simon added: "It is going to be a really dramatic sight - just as the original ship would have been in its age.
"Our real reason for building the ship is that there is no existing Anglo-Saxon ship of this scale anywhere else in the world.
"We are calling it experimental archaeology - building this replica is helping understand everything about the ship, from building it, to seeing how it would have worked on the water."
The Sutton Hoo Ship's Company are also building their replica ship just across the river from the Sutton Hoo site, where the original ship was discovered over 80 years ago.
To donate to the project, visit: https://saxonship.org/sponsorship/.