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22 October 2001
The future of Seahenge

Seahenge, the Bronze Age timber circle that was recovered from the seashore at Holme, Norfolk (England), is to be saved and conserved for future generations. This course of action, proposed by English Heritage, was announced and discussed at a meeting of the Timber Circle Working Group. David Miles, Chief Archaeologist at English Heritage, said: "Seahenge is one of the most important discoveries of recent years for British archaeology. It has opened a new window into the Bronze Age and by conserving the timbers we will be preserving them for future generations to experience for themselves."
      A proposal that the timbers be reburied at Holme beach was carefully considered and English Heritage consulted scientists throughout the world in the process. The conclusion was that a reburial on the beach would not guarantee the long-term preservation of these important timbers, as the most responsible course of action was to conserve the timbers and guarantee their safe storage thereafter.
      The conservation programme, fully funded by English Heritage, will take place at the Flag Fen archaeological centre near Peterborough. The whole process will take at least five years, during which time English Heritage will discuss with local partners possibilities for the future display of this unique survival from the early Bronze Age.
      The Seahenge timbers have been precisely dated to spring 2050BCE and 2049BCE using pioneering dating techniques. Speculation continues as to the purpose of the monument and the study of axe marks on the wood has shown that about three dozen bronze tools were used to cut and trim the timbers, suggesting that the construction was a communal activity. English Heritage, in partnership with Norfolk County Council, will also produce a travelling exhibition and a booklet about Seahenge.

Source: English Heritage (15 October 2001)

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