A timber circle dating back 4,000 years which was found in the sea off the Norfolk coast then years ago is to be put on permanent display in King’s Lynn. Seahenge, as it is known, has 55 oak posts around a central upturned stump dating from the Bronze Age. It was found emerging from a beach at Holme-next-the-Sea.
Timbers were studied at the Bronze Age Centre, Peterborough, then preserved at the Mary Rose Trust, Portsmouth. After it was excavated, 3D laser scanning revealed the earliest metal tool marks on wood ever discovered in Britain. Archaeologists at the Bronze Age Centre, believe between 50 and 80 people may have helped build the circle, possibly to mark the death of an important individual.
Seahenge became exposed at low tides after the peat dune covering it was swept away by winter storms. The site's excavation was initially halted by protests by a group of about 12 Druids and environmental campaigners who said the sea had cared for the site for 4,000 years and would continue to do so. But researchers said the exposed wood was deteriorating fast. Funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Norfolk County Council has been provided for the Seahenge Gallery project at the Lynn Museum which will house the timber, displayed in its original formation. The central stump, which is still being treated, will join the gallery at a later date.
John Gretton, of Norfolk County Council, said: "The discovery of Seahenge in the summer of 1998 captured the imagination of the public and archaeologists alike. "Whilst the research done on the timbers has led to some historians drawing conclusions, the original function of Seahenge remains mysterious, and I hope that visitors will flock to the newly restored Lynn Museum to speculate on the ancient meaning behind the timbers - which we were able to rescue for all time from further damage."