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Archive Image of the Month

Let Selwyn's archivist, Elizabeth Stratton, give you a taster of the college archives. Every month Elizabeth selects a particularly interesting piece from the archives and provides an insight into its history and significance. 

 Archive Image of the Month – November 2019

Charles Phillips and Sutton Hoo 1939

Archive Image 85 - November 2019

Our archive image for November marks the 80th anniversary of the discovery of the Sutton Hoo Anglo-Saxon ship burial and treasure from the 7th century King Redwald, and follows on from the opening of the new visitors’ centre by the National Trust at the Sutton Hoo site this summer. 

In July 1939 Charles Phillips, an archaeologist and Fellow at Selwyn in the 1930s, was summoned by the British Museum Archaeology department to Suffolk to oversee the work begun by Basil Brown a year earlier at a site that was proving to be very exciting. The dig was being undertaken on land near Woodbridge that was owned by Mrs Edith Pretty who had always wanted to know what was hidden under the mysterious mounds at the back of her property. The discovery of the outline of a 27m long ship and over 200 Anglo-Saxon objects, including the now famous helmet, led to a total rethinking of Anglo-Saxon history. A video of the excavation is available in the East Anglian Film Archive collections.

Phillips was later Archaeology Officer of the Ordnance Survey from 1947-1965.

We are grateful to Somerville College, Oxford for providing a copy of the portrait photo of Charles Phillips, and to the York Archaeology department for the photo of the ship excavation. 

As always, any questions about the college archives can be directed to the archivist on We are always grateful to hear from members of college about any photographs and memories you may have of your time at Selwyn and they can also be uploaded directly here.

Previous archive images can be seen here.

Elizabeth Stratton, November 2019


The Archivist is always delighted to arrange Archive visits and to receive Selwyn memorabilia, photos and stories. To contact Elizabeth Stratton, please email:



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