|18 June 2003
Seahenge on tour
A travelling exhibition on Seahenge, the Bronze Age timber circle discovered on a Norfolk beach (England), has been mounted at Holme-Next-the-Sea by English Heritage and Norfolk County Council. After the bitter controversy which surrounded the excavation of Seahenge, English Heritage promised its discoveries would be put on display, so the exhibition will go to eight other towns and villages in West Norfolk over the next three months. The exhibition includes recorded interviews with people involved and details about the excavation, newspaper cuttings, and reports and pictures from the time.
David Miles, chief archaeologist for English Heritage, said: "The east coast of England is eroding rapidly and, as it does so, amazing new archaeological sites are emerging. Seahenge has given us a unique insight into pre-historic Britain which was only possible because the timbers were rescued and recorded."
Seahenge was just one of many new sites of archaeological interest being exposed around England's east coast through the sea's eroding action. Research on the timbers had revealed new information about the spread of metal tools through early man's society. County archaeologist Brian Ayers said: "The sheer range of axes that were available to enable work to be done shows that a great group of people came together. It would have been exceptionally difficult to put up a monument like that on the edge of the saltmarsh."
English Heritage has put out conservation work on the timbers to tender. Mr Miles said the results were expected back in the next few weeks. The unique quality of the timbers had caused more problems than archaeologists had first thought – especially the preservation of the up-turned oak tree which had been the circle's centrepiece. He said: "Nobody has conserved such a large timber as the central oak. Normally we are dealing with timbers that have been cut. The tree is designed to keep everything out." The timbers are still being stored at the Flag Fen Bronze Age site, near Peterborough, in chemically-treated water.
Sources: BBC News (10 June 2003), Lynn News (13 June 2003)
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