Sunday, May 19, 2024

Sutton Hoo: Blue Plaque Unveiled At Home Of Archeologist Basil Brown

A blue plaque to commemorate the archaeologist who uncovered Anglo-Saxon treasures at Sutton Hoo has been unveiled.

Basil Brown spent almost his entire life in the Suffolk village of Rickinghall and largely taught himself the profession.

A plaque was unveiled on Monday at the house where he lived for more than 40 years.

It was organised by a small group of volunteers, known as Quatrefoil.

The group was formed in 2012 to research the history of the Suffolk villages of Botesdale, Redgrave and Rickinghall.

When Edith Pretty decided to excavate part of her estate at Sutton Hoo, near Woodbridge, Suffolk in 1938, she was advised by Ipswich Museum to call upon Mr Brown.

He found a burial ship and a central chamber filled with pieces, including a warrior’s helmet, a gold belt buckle, sword and shield, believed to have belonged to East Anglia ruler King Rædwald.

The discovery of the treasures was retold in Netflix film The Dig, where Ralph Fiennes took on the role of Mr Brown.

Cambridge archaeologist Charles Phillips, who took over the excavation once it became clear it was of huge significance, called Mr Brown “a pure piece of rustic Suffolk” in his book, My Life in Archaeology.

Mr Brown’s belief that his initial finds in 1938 were of a rich ship burial was confirmed in excavations led by Prof Martin Carver.

Sarah Doig, chair of Quatrefoil, said: “We are absolutely delighted that we now have such a visible recognition of our most famous resident.

“Basil is fondly remembered in the neighbourhood by all who knew him, and we are all proud of his many archaeological achievements.

“He was always generous with his time and expertise, inspiring the younger generation’s interest in archaeology and local history.”

The plaque commemorates him as the discoverer of the Sutton Hoo treasures and an archaeologist and astronomer.

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