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Sutton Hoo viewing tower plan given £1.8m National Lottery grant

image copyrightNational Trust
image captionThe new permanent viewing tower will replace an existing, smaller platform

A project to build a 17m (56ft) viewing tower at one of the country's most archaeologically significant finds has been given a £1.8m grant.

The National Trust said the Heritage Lottery Fund money means its plans for Sutton Hoo, Suffolk, can move forward.

The funding will go towards the total £4m cost for the project, which is due to be completed in 2021.

Sutton Hoo is believed to be the final resting place of the 7th Century King Raedwald of East Anglia.

Suffolk Coastal council has given planning permission for a permanent tower to replace a temporary, smaller platform built in 2015.

The National Trust has also been given approval to improve the welcome centre and build new experiences in the exhibition hall.

image copyrightNational Trust
image captionThe National Trust's plans also include a new walkway through the site

As part of the project, called Releasing the Story of Sutton Hoo, there will be a new route around the site which the Trust said will allow visitors to "walk in the steps of the Anglo-Saxons".

Tranmer House, the former home of Edith Pretty who instigated the dig that led to the discoveries, will be transformed with a new exhibition exploring a timeline of he finds and the ongoing research at Sutton Hoo and other archaeological sites.

Allison Girling, property operations manager at Sutton Hoo, said: "These plans are all about sharing more about the history of this special place, helping visitors delve deeper into the lives of the Anglo-Saxons who settled here, the people who discovered them and to learn more about what it is that makes Sutton Hoo so fascinating."

image copyrightHelen Johns
image captionA temporary visitor platform was built in 2015 to show the view from the burial site to the River Deben and Woodbridge

Sutton Hoo's history

The discovery was made in 1939 when the landowner Edith Pretty asked archaeologist Basil Brown to investigate the largest of several mounds on her property.

Among the many finds were the buried boat which contained the remains of a warrior's helmet, which is kept in the British Museum.

It is thought the ship was hauled to the site from the nearby River Deben.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionOne of the greatest finds at the Sutton Hoo boat burial is this warrior's helmet, which is kept at the British Museum in London

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