It was back in the winter of 1998-1999 following the discovery of the Bronze Age monument buried in the sand between high and low tide levels at Holme-next-the Sea, members of our Archaeological Society were asked to 'babysit' this very important discovery during periods of low tide and during the hours of daylight. The reason for this was because of following the publication of its discovery in the media it became a magnet for all sorts of pagan and New Age movements arguing that they had "a kind of spiritual ownership of the circle" in addition some 5000 visitors came to see it during the first 3 months of 1999.
We were asked to patrol the area and make sure nobody came too close to the circle and thus damage any of the fragile timbers or the upturned tree root located in the centre of the circle. At this stage there were none of the confrontations as seen later when the site was excavated.
I was one such volunteer and I was able to spend many an hour walking the beach at low tide from late January and the spring of 1999 often with a freezing cold easterly wind blowing off the sea. I do recall that on such days there were not ever so many visitors coming to look at this monument.
Go-ahead for the excavation was given of the timbers was given in March 1999 and excavation subsequently started in May 1999 and this led many a confrontation with the New Age and 'Druid' protestors trying to prevent excavation of the timbers. At this stage the police were involved in making sure that the protestors were kept well away from the excavation. Of course at this stage we were no longer required.
The timbers were duly sent to Flag Fen near Peterborough for preservation with the help of the Mary Rose Trust. Some of these timbers can now be seen in the Lynn museum.
When Seahenge was exposed by the movement of the sandbanks it started to be eroded by the sea and its preservation dictated that it moved from its original vulnerable coastal position. It was carefully surveyed and then lifted and moved to be housed in Kings Lynn museum where it can be seen today. It is displayed in its own controlled area of the museum, safe from the deterioration is would have suffered outside and, even ouside its original coastal position, is still a dramatic exhibit. The Lynn Museum website features Seahenge and can be found HERE
Futher information about Seahenge can be found on Wikipedia HERE
Northern Journeys: Medieval Anglo-Norwegian Trade, in Good Times and Bad (17th April 2018)
Dr. James Barrett, Reader in Medieval Archaeology and Leverhulme Major Research Fellow at Cambridge University.
The program of lectures for the next season can now be found under the 'Lectures' tab above.
Starting in May the society will be working with the council to deliver a programme of community archaeology in the Gaywood area. Let Clive know if and when you will be able to help in supporting local people explore the history of their area.
Special Public Lecture (with cheese and wine)
Dr Clive J Bond will be taking about Seahenge which was discovered ten years ago. The lecture is to raise money for the RNLI, and is at King's Lynn Town Hall on Friday, 27th April, at 6pm. Tickets are for sale at the Custom House, Lynn, or the RNLI Hunstanton shop, Old Hunstanton beach.
WNKLAS In The News
The society has been in the local Newspapers recently in coverage of the conference to celebrate our 50year anniversary and also the presentation to John Smallwood one of the founders.
Society Conference (25th November 2017)
Was held at Marriott's Warehouse Trust on Saturday 25th November. The subject was 'Women in the Archaeology and History of West Norfolk: Female Voices Across Time'.
King John's Treasure
The society's investigation of a local farm contributed to a programme made for US television as part of the Expidition Unknown series. This systematic survey of an area that was a likely route for the Royal Treasure was also the subject of a recent lecture evening.