Sea Henge stays on dry land
27th November 2001
Holme Village Hall Meeting
A meeting was held in Holme Village Hall tonight for what has been called the last of the consultations regarding the fate of 'Seahenge'.
David Miles Chief Archaeologist of English Heritage explained to the villagers of Holme-next-the-sea what had happened to change the decision to bury Seahenge deep into the clay of Holme beach. A decision made at the last consultative meeting in the village hall in October 2000, when it was suggested that there was neither money nor expertise to preserve the timbers on dry land.
When various archaeologists and academics from the international scientific community urged
preservation of the timbers as burying them could not guarantee their survival, English Heritage
released funding to Flag Fen for further investigation of the timbers.
The Seahenge timbers, which have been dated to the spring of 2050BC and 2049BC using pioneering dating techniques, are now being studied using new technological advances in laser scanning which is allowing scientists to study, on computer, three dimensional detailed images.
This study is revealing in fine detail exactly how the timbers were cut and shaped and showing what tools were used. This, and other information, is unlocking the mystery of the builders of Seahenge.
Referring to the axe marks as 'fingerprints' a report from Flag Fen suggests that 38 different bronze tools were used and that a number of 'builders' appeared to be involved. That report concluded a whole community would have been involved in the building of 'Seahenge'.
English Heritage has now agreed to release £50,000 for a 5 year programme of conservation and preservation to be carried out at Flag Fen Bronze Age Centre in Peterborough under the direction of Francis Pryor the Director of Archaeology and his wife Maisie Taylor. At the end of this process English Heritage will provide the funding for storage. English Heritage scientist Mike Corfield explained how the timbers could be preserved using a water soluble wax which process would make the wood solid. David Miles said no decision had been reached regarding display of 'Seahenge'.
The option of placing the conserved timbers into storage would give access to scientists for research purposes and allow future generations to experience for themselves 'one of the most important discoveries of recent years for British archaeology'. Another option to storage is the founding of a local trust to take over the responsibility of Seahenge and to raise the funds and find a suitable environment for permanent display allowing this present generation to experience this 'important discovery'.
It was suggested at the meeting that there was now a breathing space of 5 years in which to come up with the answers to the eventual fate of 'Seahenge'.
Holme Parish Council Chairman, Geoff Needham said "They have now realised the national importance of Seahenge and that they have no option but to provide the money for preservation.
The enthusiasm for long term display must come locally, but the Government will have to provide the money".
There was no mention at all of the new discoveries on Holme's beach. See 'At Holme with Seahenge' where three new photographs taken by John Lorimer show the central logs of a 22' circle clearly showing what are assumed to be bronze tool marks.
Posted by juamei
7th December 2001ce