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Seahenge, 2049 BC, Norfolk.

Seahenge, as it’s popularly known, is a Bronze Age timber circle found at Holme next the sea, Norfolk in 1998 with further excavations on the site in 1999.

The timbers are a rare survivor from the period and were preserved in peat before being exposed by the sea. Originally the circle was constructed on salt marsh some way inland.

The circle measure 6.6 metres in diameter and comprises of 55 closely fitting oak posts which would once have stood up to three metres high with all except one of them placed with their bark facing outwards,.The very centre of the circle was occupied by a massive upturned oak tree stump.

Constructed at a time when archaeologists believed metal tools were a rarity, the construction marks on the timbers show the individual signatures of over 50 different bronze axes. Scientific dating techniques have identified that all of the trees used were felled in the spring or early summer of 2049 BC.

To ensure the fragile wood was preserved the timbers were initially treated at Flag Fen in Cambridgeshire before being moved to the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth where they underwent the same preservation methods as Henry VIII’s famous flagship.

It isn’t known exactly why the circle was built, but it is thought that perhaps the body of a high ranking person may have been placed on the upturned stump to be picked clean by animals and birds; one thing we do know is the entrance to the circle was sealed very shortly after it was built.

Norfolk Museums Collections