The Sutton Hoo archaeological site which inspired Netflix's The Dig has royal visitor as The Duke of Gloucester opens new viewing tower
The Duke of Gloucester has visited the archaeological site which inspired Netflix's blockbuster film The Dig as he opened a new viewing tower at Sutton Hoo which gives visitors never-seen-before views of the Suffolk beauty spot.
Prince Richard yesterday officially opened the 17 metre structure at the medieval cemetery, which now gives visitors views across the eight burial mounds within the Royal Burial Ground, where the ship burial of an Anglo-Saxon king and his treasured possessions was discovered in the famous 1930s archaeological dig.
During his visit he unveiled a plaque to mark the tower’s official opening and met and thanked National Trust staff, volunteers and funders who have supported the £4 million project.
As well as visiting the tower, he was given a tour of the new exhibition in the High Hall, which tells the story of the Anglo-Saxons and includes replicas of items discovered in the 1939 excavation.
He also visited Tranmer House, which now tells the story of Edith Pretty who instigated the dig and archaeologist Basil Brown, who went onto make one of Britain’s greatest archaeological discoveries - a story which was later told by Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes in The Dig.
Nick Collinson, general manager for the National Trust, said: The tower gives visitors great birds-eye views of the Royal Burial Ground and the wider landscape, but also of the Deben estuary, across to Woodbridge and even Felixstowe Port.
"The tower really helps to connect the Royal Burial Ground with the estuary which would have been the highway of the time, and an essential part of why the burial ground was located here in such a symbolic position in this landscape in the 7th Century.”
The tower was designed by architects Nissen Richards Studio and, with its small footprint, is nestled on the edge of woodland.
Over time its cladding of cladding of charred larch will weather to a silvery grey, blending with the Scots pines that surround it.