Seahenge II

Seahenge 2 Seahenge II (WNKLAS 2013)

Seahenge II image, 2013: The seahenge II image was taken on 21st June 2013, during a West Norfolk and King's Lynn Archaeological Society and Nautical Archaeology Society visit. It was quite unexpected to come across the seahenge II (adjacent by a few hundred meters to the excavated seahenge site - now in Lynn Museum). This site appears, but is regularly been re-covered naturally by sand and mud. It has not been observed since that day and others have failed to note it on the beach, so it is rather a ghostly figure of a monument. It dates closely to the seahenge I, c.2049 BC (dendro-chronological date from timber samples). The society hopes that later in the year, or next year when tides are appropriate, to re-visit and survey the timbers in situ as no monitoring is occurring, as we understand it, of this earlier Bronze Age monument.

Its function must be similar to seahenge I, linked to burial, or the exposure of a body or body parts to the elements (excarnation), so birds and perceived spirits can take the soul of the departed to the next life! This is often referred to in anthropological circles as 'sky burial' as is practiced by Buddhist monks in Nepal. Of course, seahenge I, had the central upturned tree in the centre, linking the routes of the tree with the sky and the body laid out on the roots, with the tree bark and central stem, into the ground (where other spirits may have been perceived as dwelling). It is not clear if there was a similar element to Seahenge II - it may be eroded away, or simply not recorded as yet

The Original Seahenge

Seahenge (the Original)

From Dr Clive Bond

Seahenge 1998 Seahenge, 1998 Photograph
Seahenge I, images, 1998: The images P1010062 and P1010071, date back to the October 1998, when I visited the Holme-next-to-Sea beach when I came back from college (I had started a full-time PhD scholarship at the University of Winchester on prehistoric settlement). I visited on a weekend day afternoon and met many archaeologists working against the tide, to record the final quarter of the circle (Seahenge I, dated by dendro-chronology to 2050-48 BC, in brush wood and phragmites peat setting behind sand dunes), before it was lifted. It was very windy, with showers, with the sea water coming in, filling trenches. I met staff from NAU (Norfolk Archaeological Unit) who I'd worked with in September 1998, as part of the Time Team Bawsey Big Dig weekend.

Seahenge at dusk Seahenge, at twilight (1998)

Many were very upset, working at this location against the weather and odds, as they had been threatened by visitors to the beach, including selected elements of the pagan community and others, angry that the archaeologists moved the wood. It was seen as desecrating an ancient and deeply special religiously important site. That, is certainly a viewpoint and is the monument certainly did relate to the world of the ancestors for early Bronze Age people. I believe, this ritual and spiritual side of the monument and its landscape setting is still not adequately addressed by people, or in displays and exhibitions. Indeed, like Stonehenge and the solstice celebrations, out own seahenge touched a nerve with many with different and diverse beliefs and practices, which should be listened to, even if not fully understood by us. It was a difficult time - there was certainly a presence and beauty with this setting, the circle of wood upright posts, mirroring the sea/horizon arch across the beach.

Seahenge Reconstruction, Summer 2012: The Conference flyer attached (I organised a conference on West Norfolk Archaeology in 2012) has a picture of the reconstruction of Seahenge on its front. I gave a paper about the unique prehistory of West Norfolk, including the seahenge, the only one in the World (Save its sister monument on the beach). This reconstruction was completed by Time Team as part of a special Christmas special programme. It is still upstanding, in Thornham on a farm.

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.

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2018/19 Lectures

The program of lectures for the next season can now be found under the 'Lectures' tab above.

Special Project

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.

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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.

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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.

Press Article


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'.

Conference Book Information

Press Cutting

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.

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