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calendar   Thursday - December 12, 2019

A Most Unusual Christmas Present Idea

$22 To Gift A Rivet. But it also comes with a rove!! Plus a huge slice of obscure but fascinating history.

$22 To Help Build A Ghost Ship

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Once upon a time, long long ago, when England was no longer Roman, but not yet England or even Angle-Land, there was a small kingdom in the east end of that green and pleasant land called East Anglia. Northeast of London and the tiny kingdom of Essex, this was the toe-hold of the Angles, who had come over from Germany after the Romans left. This was midnight of the Dark Ages, when Christianity was still making inroads. Long before the Vikings learned how to vike.

There was a king of East Anglia named Raedwald. Redwald. He had converted to Christianity a couple decades before his death. But when he died in 624 he was buried in the pagan fashion, in his armor in a longship buried in a mound with lots of goodies, near the village of Sutton in the shire of Suffolk. And so he slept, for 1300 years.

In 1939 archeologists found his mound and started digging. And struck paydirt.

Sutton Hoo is of primary importance to early medieval historians because it sheds light on a period of English history that is on the margin between myth, legend, and historical documentation. Use of the site culminated at a time when Rædwald, the ruler of the East Angles, held senior power among the English people and played a dynamic if ambiguous part in the establishment of Christian rulership in England; it is generally thought most likely that he is the person buried in the ship. The site has been vital in understanding the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of East Anglia and the whole early Anglo-Saxon period.

The ship-burial, probably dating from the early 7th century and excavated in 1939, is one of the most magnificent archaeological finds in England for its size and completeness, far-reaching connections, the quality and beauty of its contents, and the profound interest of the burial ritual itself. The initial excavation was privately sponsored by the landowner. When the significance of the find became apparent, national experts took over. Subsequent archaeological campaigns, particularly in the late 1960s and late 1980s, have explored the wider site and many other individual burials. The most significant artefacts from the ship-burial, displayed in the British Museum, are those found in the burial chamber, including a suite of metalwork dress fittings in gold and gems, a ceremonial helmet, shield and sword, a lyre, and many pieces of silver plate from the Byzantine Empire.

The really neat part of that excavation is that they found the ship. Sort of. But not really, and kind of inside-out. The wooden ship had completely rotted away, leaving behind just the iron rivets. But the soil was so firm that the impression of the ship was perfect, as if it were a giant mould. And so it became known as a ghost ship. It wasn’t there, but you could see it.

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Among the finds was the famous Anglo-Saxon helmet, as well as drinking horns , cauldrons, and weapons, many of which are now in the British Museum . These treasures were buried in the ship burial so that they could be used by the dead man in the afterlife.

The ship was the burial place of King Rædwald, who was the ruler of the kingdom of East Anglia and a member of the powerful Wufling dynasty. This dynasty is mentioned in the great epic Beowulf, the greatest work in medieval literature. The king was buried, according to pagan customs despite having officially converted to Christianity.

Break-through technologies are revolutionizing archaeology. A group of archaeologists and researchers have come together to use 3-D modeling technology to recreate the ship found at Sutton Hoo.

They have successfully developed a digital model of the ship based only on the rivets found in the burial mound. Albawaba quotes Julian Wainwright, a marine archaeologist, as saying that the team have a “virtually complete hull shape from keel to gunwale” . This is very important because the team now has the data to recreate the vessel from the Dark Ages .

The group want members of the public to pay $22 (£20) to buy a rivet for the ship. Some 3,500 rivets will be needed and each person who sponsors one will receive a commemorative pin and will be able to locate their rivet after the construction of the ship.

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Sutton Hoo has welcomed visitors to the site for many years and attempts have been made to reconstruct the ship, including a half-size replica but now everything has come together so that a full-size replica will be built by The Ship’s Company.

The Ship’s Company was formed in 2016 with the sole purpose of creating a permanent and authentic replica of the Anglo-Saxon ship. The team is made up of professionals, volunteers and enthusiasts who are working together to fully understand the dimensions and construction methods. The ship will be built in the newly opened, Longshed, a purpose-built unit gifted to the town and dedicated to the maritime history and education.

So why build it now?

The Ship’s Company is a group of people with a strong desire – and a collective will – to see this build to completion. The town of Woodbridge has a rich boat building heritage and a beautiful waterfront providing an ideal setting for such an iconic project. So much can be learned from the research, design and construction by bringing the King’s ship back to life in the same place that it came to its end.

Building a Saxon ship using authentic ship-building methods will have its challenges but where we don’t have the skills in house we will contract experts, such as marine archaeologists, ship architects, shipwrights and experts in green wood working. Together with strong academic support from the Universities of York and Southampton we will see that we record and learn from, every stage.

Bringing the ship back to life and observing it back on the River Deben will be a sight to behold.

So go gift a rivet. This should make you literally a plank holder, since that’s what the rivets are for. And you get a pin and a badge too.

I don’t know what they will name the new ship, but I’d go with the HooToo. Seems appropriate, and much better than Boaty McBoatface.

Christmas Sponsorship – why not sponsor a rivet for someone else this Christmas? All you need to do is purchase your rivet and tell us who it is for in the box provided. We can ship the collectors pin badge and certificate directly to your friend, relative or colleague or we can send it to you to pass on.

[ AFAIK there is no correlation between old King Raedwald and the best selling knight-ish series of children’s books called Redwall, featuring valiant small animals, most notably the mouse Matthias who learns to be a man, by the late author Brian Jacques. They’re in your library. ]


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/12/2019 at 10:11 AM   
Filed Under: • Miscellaneous •  
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Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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